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Mike Ferguson
R-New Jersey (7)

Election: Defeated Maryanne S. Connelly, D, to succeed Rep. Bob Franks, R
Home: Warren
Born: July 22, 1970; Ridgewood, N.J.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Family: Wife, Maureen; two children
Education: U. of Notre Dame, B.A. 1992; Georgetown U., M.P.P. 1995
Career: College instructor; education consulting firm owner
Political Highlights: Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1998

This was the 30-year-old Ferguson's first try for the 7th District seat but his second try for the House - in 1998, he ran in the neighboring 6th District, losing to Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. by a margin of 17 percent.

This year, Ferguson defeated three contenders to win the tough Republican primary.

He portrayed himself as a moderate Republican in the mold of Franks, though Ferguson and Franks do part company on the abortion issue - Ferguson opposes abortion rights, Franks supports them. Democrats tried to seize on Ferguson's abortion stance to portray him as out of touch with the district voters.

Ferguson pointed to the support he received from Ceasefire New Jersey - a gun-control advocacy group that also endorsed Connelly - and the Heavy and General Construction Laborers as evidence of his broad support.

During the fiercely competitive race, Ferguson focused his message on the need to improve education, where he and Franks share similar views. Like Franks, Ferguson says more education money should go to local school systems. And both support the right of states to adopt programs that include the use of vouchers to give parents an alternative to public school education for their children.

He says he would like House committee assignments on Education and Workforce Committee, Commerce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

© 2000 Congressional Quarterly Inc.

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