The 3rd Congressional District has more registered Democrats than Republicans, but it tends to vote Republican in House races.
That may be why Democrat Andy Kim likes to point out that he has worked as a national security official in both the Bush and Obama administrations.
His opponent, Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur, accuses Kim of padding his resume.
“I respect people that serve the government in all kinds of capacities. I don’t respect somebody who lies about who they are because they want to deceive voters,” MacArthur said. “I’m straight about who I am, what I believe and what I’m going to do. I always have been. And I don’t respect somebody who doesn’t think he’s enough and has to invent stuff about himself in order to try to win over voters.”
MacArthur points to a Washington Post fact check published this weekend that called Kim’s connection to national security in the Bush administration “… a classic case of resume puffery.”
“Look at what The Washington Post said about him. They said he is puffing up his resume. Look, he’s a fraud. He also cheated on his taxes,” MacArthur said.
Kim was a Rhodes scholar. In the Obama years he worked in the State Department, the Pentagon, for Generals Petraeus and Allen in Afghanistan and was the Iraq specialist on the White House National Security Council.
It’s the service during the Bush years that is in question.
“I’m proud of my service working for the government under both Republican and Democratic administrations. I’ve had a lot of strong support from my former colleagues and other national security officials recently talking about my experience in national security and what I helped contribute to in our government,” Kim said.
Kim put Obama and Bush into one of his TV ads.
“The purpose of the ad was to convey what service means to me. It was trying to say that I’m somebody that is willing to work under both Republican and Democratic administrations and that I want to put the country first and I want to serve the American people. That’s what the ad was trying to convey,” Kim said.
Kim worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID] on Africa issues for five months in an entry-level job during the Bush years.
“He wants to look like he’s bipartisan, so he wants to have people believe that he was a high level person in the Bush administration when he was 22 years old and in college,” MacArthur said.
Kim says that still put him in touch with terrorism issues in Somalia, Sudan and Darfur.
“There’s a tremendous amount of work that USAID does in support of national security. And these are the types of work that we need to recognize that so much of our foreign policy is about defense, diplomacy, and development, and all of these pieces need to fit together,” Kim said.
The race is tight. A recent public poll had Kim up by one — 45 to 44. MacArthur has caught up to Kim and surpassed him in fundraising. MacArthur also has a large personal fortune he can dip into if needed.