By Elia Morelos
Steven Uccio is expected to lose his campaign for Congress. No amount of campaigning across New Jersey’s 12th District will change the fact that he is a huge underdog.
Uccio is running against incumbent Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman. As a Republican in a blue district, Uccio isn’t likely to attract enough voters—and that’s if they hear his message in the first place. Uccio, a first-time congressional candidate, receives scant media coverage.
Uccio isn’t a flawless candidate. His policy platform is incomplete, notably his lack of a position on Medicaid and food stamps, both important issues for low-income residents. He also intends to vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom is highly unpopular among Democrats—which Uccio will need to win over if he has any chance of victory. Continue reading
By Kay-Ann Henry
Miami Gardens, FL
The smell of kettle-corn lingers in the air, while a ferris wheel rises high above the fairgoers. Steven Uccio, a Republican candidate for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, is at the Middlesex County Fair in East Brunswick, N.J., with two of his staffers. At the moment, he is speaking to the Princeton Summer Journal about his campaign.
Uccio seems cool and unfazed in a polo shirt and khaki pants. He greets student journalists generously, noting that he’s received few questions over the last four years from the local press. He welcomes questions. He makes eye contact. He seems like a pretty typical young guy. Continue reading
By Yahaira Torres Ledesma
Steven Uccio, the Republican House candidate in New Jersey’s 12th District, is hoping to appeal to voters in his predominantly liberal district through libertarian policy positions like drug decriminalization. But the inexperienced, largely unknown candidate still faces long odds in November against Democratic incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman.
At a press conference August 6 at the Middlesex County Fair, Uccio, 30, discussed the war on drugs at length. “The drug war has been a total failure,” he said. “I will be more independent-minded and follow my values.” He believes that possession of marijuana or heroin should be decriminalized so that addicts are sent to rehabilitation instead of jail. Continue reading
By Taylor Fetty and Maria Gonzalez
Hundred, WV and Mattawa, WA
Residents of Princeton, N.J., expressed frustrations about Gov. Chris Christie on a recent evening, saying his failed presidential campaign and support of Republican nominee Donald Trump distracted him from the affairs of his home state.
Elected as a Republican in a Democratic state, Christie was initially popular because of his brash and candid style, but voters said they started to lose faith in him after “Bridgegate,” a high-profile political scandal involving the George Washington Bridge in 2013. “He is extremely short-sighted and self-serving,” said Michael, 73, a professor at Princeton University who declined to give his last name due to his position at the University, citing the scandal in which Christie’s aides deliberately caused traffic with lane closures on the George Washington Bridge to punish one of Christie’s political opponents. Continue reading
By Kieona Buchanan and Katie Marciniak
Rolling Fork, MS and Chicago, IL
Residents of Princeton say they dislike their governor both as the state’s leader and for his role in the current presidential election. Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump, they believe, is merely a political move to win a cabinet spot after his term is up in 2017.
Devon Davis, a 24-year-old Princeton resident, said he recalls Christie’s budget cuts resulting in a decline in field trip opportunities when he was in high school. So Christie’s decision to work alongside Trump, Davis said, “doesn’t surprise me. They’re for themselves.” Continue reading
By Mirna Rodriguez and Xuan Truong
Mission, TX and Springfield, MA
The carnival played out in the distance underneath last Saturday afternoon’s baking sun. The sunlight perfectly lit up a sign that read Middlesex County. Laughter and screams rang out from the twisting rides, drowning out a man’s demure voice as he stood in a field. Face clean shaven and hair neatly cut, he looked down at his pin, the sun blaring against the name: Steven Uccio.
Behind him were two other men in bright red shirts with large, bolded letters saying “Uccio For Congress: It’s Our Time.” Beyond the three were a crowd of young journalists, with pink umbrellas and notebooks on their laps, awaiting his answers. Continue reading
By Ashley Standafer and Xuan Truong
Hyden, KY and Springfield, MA
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a polarizing politician who inspired both outright anger and respect among those interviewed on a recent Saturday night in Princeton, N.J.
“He’s a bully and it shows who he really is as a person,” said Robert Delanty, 47. He believes that Christie “sold himself out on the Trump endorsement,” referring to the governor’s support of the Republican presidential candidate. Continue reading