The district is new but the names on the ballot should be familiar to Merrimack Valley voters.
After five years representing the region in the 5th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas has assembled a record she proudly stands behind. The Lowell Democrat is running for re-election in the newly-formed 3rd District against Republican Jon Golnik of Carlisle.
The race is a rematch of 2010, when Tsongas beat Golnik by a margin of 55 to 42 percent. A first-time candidate, Golnik earned 94,646 votes to Tsongas’ 122,858 in what was the best showing in the Valley from a Republican congressional hopeful since 1992.
Two years later, Golnik still believes Tsongas is part of the problem in Washington, D.C. The candidates disagree on a long list of issues, including the state of the economy four years after the 2008 financial crisis.
Each has enlisted dueling statistics to prove their respective points on the campaign trail.
Tsongas says America lost 800,000 jobs in December 2008, the final month of the Bush administration. Since then, 5 million jobs were created and the country has enjoyed 31 consecutive months of public-sector job growth, including 103,000 new jobs last month.
Additionally, Tsongas said the stock market has recovered and the foreclosure rate is 16 percent lower than one year ago.
“The economy is in a much better place,” said Tsongas. “But we’ve got much more to do.”
Golnik cites 44 consecutive months of national unemployment at 8 percent or higher and a rising state unemployment rate in recent months as proof the economy is not where it should be. He has also continually attacked Tsongas for her comment at a recent debate that people are “absolutely” better off now than they were two years ago.
“I’m running because this country is currently on the wrong path,” said Golnik. “The middle class is struggling.”