NEW JERSEY — The election in the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey is between Democrat incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman and Republican challenger Mark Razzoli.

Watson Coleman, who succeeded fellow party member Rush Holt, is running for her fourth term in the House of Representatives. She is the first black woman elected to represent a New Jersey district in Congress.

On the topic of economic development, Coleman has advocated for the “Raise the Wage” campaign to raise the minimum wage in New Jersey. "I am committed to helping every American provide a decent life for their families," she said in a platform post on her website. Recently, New Jersey legislators came to an agreement to raise the states minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour. "Working and middle-class Americans deserve tax reforms that benefit them and assist them as they strive to improve their financial situations. That’s why I introduced the Earned Income Tax Credit Modernization Act to increase financial stability for caregivers and students pursuing higher education and advanced degrees."

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Coleman is a supporter of the Green New Deal and a believer in man-made climate change. 

On education, Coleman has said she believes that federal policies are needed that support teachers and students in their classrooms. "As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, I was proud to champion more than $2 billion in grants to support our teachers and education professionals in the fiscal year 2020 education funding bill," she said.

On the topic of health care, Coleman has co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act (H.R. 1384) that would expand coverage of primary care, maternity care, hospital visits and dental and vision care. Under this universal plan, medical devices, lab services and prescription drugs would also be covered.

She opposed a border wall, calling it "a symbol of hate and fear," and is in favor of continuing the DACA program to give legal status to immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Coleman's challenger is a former member of her own party. Mark Razzoli switched parties and became a Republican in 2019. The Old Bridge resident, who is a retired detective, was a Democrat member of the Old Bridge Township Council before switching parties because “The Democratic Party that I knew has abandoned the American way of life, rule of law, and common sense, in favor of exaggerated, socialist ideology," he said last year.

Razzoli has said that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is "a radical." The Governor," Razzoli said in a Facebook post last week, "is determined to turn New Jersey into a dystopian society filled with nothing but sanctuary towns, overrun with illegal immigrants who are waiting for him to pay for their free college, their health insurance, rent subsidies, meals, legal aid, and driver’s licenses.”

"The Democratic party of JFK has been hijacked by radical ideology," Razzoli said in a post on his campaign website. "These leftists seek to pit American against American using identity politics, while abandoning law and order. To JFK's shame, today's Democratic leaders have forgotten his promises to the American people. 

For this reason, I changed parties so that instead of dividing our country I can fight for a united America where everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American dream; where the constitution is honored, valued, and upheld; and where the equal rights and freedoms of all citizens are preserved.  

Democrats have served our district for too many terms. It's time for new leadership in Washington so that New Jerseyans can finally achieve lower taxes, a stronger economy, and less interference from our state government," said Razzoli.

Election Day is Nov. 3, but voting by mail has already commenced in New Jersey.