As I’ve written in the recent past, the BCDO has been hesitant (to say the least) in endorsing anyone to run for Congress against radical right winger Scott Garrett. And it wasn’t too long ago that State Senator Paul Sarlo said that it was time for a change – to let a candidate from Warren or Sussex County emerge to take on Garrett.
That time is now, as Warren County resident Tod Theise has answered the call and announced his candidacy against Garrett. In his statement to the press, Thiese noted the following contrast between him and Garrett:
“I don’t think he represents working families in the district,” Theise said. “He voted against extending unemployment benefits … he voted for every [George W.] Bush budget.”
A former Republican, Theise became an independent in the early part of the last decade and then migrated to the Democratic Party. He said his reasons for the leaving the Republicans were the spending policies and lack of Wall Street regulation under Bush.
His criticisms of Garrett are similar.
“What I find lacking is that he gives the people on Wall Street a complete and utter pass,” Theise said. “He is basically bought and sold by Wall Street.”
Now, I’ve met Tod and spoken to him numerous times over the past few months as he has been moving towards a run at Garrett. There are a few things about this candidacy that I like personally – for starters, it will be interesting to see how a non-Bergen County challenger plays out – especially in the current climate where being associated with the BCDO isn’t the best of associations right around now. Additionally, I’ve always thought that lowering the 60%+ of the vote that Garrett routinely gets in Warren and Sussex counties is imperative – that this race cannot be won in Bergen alone. I also like the views and approach that Tod is taking on a number of issues – but this will come out over the next few months as the campaign gets under way.
Of course, this is one of the most uphill battles in general, as Garrett has never gotten less than 55% of the vote in his 4 previous races. But you never know what can happen in an election, and there has been unprecedented focus on Garrett by a number of grassroots organizations in the District (ahem….).
Garrett himself didn’t have any comments on Theise’s candidacy, but “FakeGarrettNJ5” on Twitter had the following to say:
A challenger? I will crush him like I crush the souls of hardworking struggling families in the District.