How to demotivate activists and lose elections

Hi, my name is Adam L. I live in Bergen County and I have a problem.

I am exactly the type of person who should be writing this kind of post, and sadly, am precisely the kind of person that the Bergen County Democratic Organization, er, the “new name, same garbage” Democratic Committee of Bergen County should be alarmed is writing this kind of post.

I moved to the fifth legislative district in August 2006, just in time to do a bit of volunteering for Paul Aronsohn’s campaign against Scott Garrett – one of the very worst members of Congress.  I knew nothing about the brewing disaster that Joe Ferriero’s tenure was about to unleash on the County Democratic Party apparatus.  I was able to get a bit more involved in 2008 for Dennis Shulman’s campaign, and started to realize the rot that was forming in the County Party during the following year when I was able to help with the Governor race, the local Assembly race and get more involved in Retire Garrett, the mess of the 2010 Congressional race, the Freeholder race and ultimately getting on the County Committee.

With the recent redistricting and the “new new” leadership of the BCDODCBC, there was hope that with time to prepare, a somewhat better district, a better environment to run and the County Party talking about “the right kind of candidate can defeat Scott Garrett” – I wouldn’t be writing this kind of post in March of the election year.

Alas, I was wrong.

First, there was talk of a potentially tasty showdown between Congressman Steve Rothman and Garrett.  A race that could very well have been won and a race that even the DCCC was willing to plunk down money to fight.  And that was over before we could even start thinking about how great a race that would be.

Then, there was the anticipation of Assemblywoman Wagner running – and the exposure that would bring along with a very solid candidate, who could also attract the attention that comes along with potentially being the only female in the NJ Congressional Delegation.  And unfortunately, Assemblywoman Wagner’s month long decision to “let us know next week” turned out to also be a “no-go”.

With the Giants winning the Super Bowl, the County Committee happened to turn the heat up on the speculation that former Giant great Harry Carson would run.  Certainly an unconventional choice but clearly one that would draw attention to the race like no one else could.  And after another few weeks of speculation, that fizzled out quickly.

Once more turning to the “anyone but the popular Freeholder from another County in the District” card, another relative outsider, Jim McQueeny, was quickly the “next great hope” before pulling out the day before the big announcement that he was in.

So here we are – an elected Freeholder who was clearly being pushed aside for a “better choice that never came” was possibly just waiting for that better choice to come along and then drop out, didn’t get the necessary signatures to be on the Bergen County ballot.  And the BCDODCBC never found that better choice in their minds – leading to months of motivated activists like myself wanting, hoping, waiting and imploring to help out in a race that we desperately want to win – clearly way more than Bergen County Democratic leadership wants to win.

This will also ultimately hurt the County races – not to mention the Senate race and Presidential race – and forget about the once again lost cause of a Congressional race.

With all of the time that could have been used for the least bit of planning (or contingency planning) and the development of a bench that clearly is severely lacking, it is baffling that we have seen these events yhis year.

I have two young kids and a full time job and precious little free time.  So, why would I want to help a County Party that doesn’t want to help itself?

Comments (21)

  1. johnleesandiego

    Your sentiments are not exclusively your own.  

  2. War Horse

    Monty Burns…

    “We’re in deep D’oh now, my friend.”

  3. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Blame the person who could have avoided all this.  Who’s name you mentioned at the top.

    In any event, the organization can’t make someone run if they don’t want to.  The bench was there.  No one wanted to get off it.

  4. Matthew Jordan

    And without any context, I’ll leave it at that.  

  5. Bertin Lefkovic

    First and foremost, I do not know why Terry Duffy allowed himself to be discouraged to get 30 signatures and run for the Bergen County endorsement.  Jeff Gardner did this last year in LD38, made a great showing for himself, and lost. Duffy could have done the same thing.  No harm.  No foul.

    Even without the party line, Duffy could and should have been prepared to run for the party lines in Sussex and Warren County and campaigned hard running off the line in Bergen.  If nothing else, a spirited primary election would have helped whomever he was running against.  Something tells me though that his drinking buddy, Bill Pascrell, Jr., probably told him to hang back, because a contested primary in CD5 would deflate the only argument that he has in his CD9 primary against Steve Rothman.

    And while we are playing the blame game here, why are 12M and other people who are pissed off at Rothman conveniently forgetting that Pascrell had a representative on the CRC and if he was truly the street fighter that he claims to be and thinks that beating Garrett is as important as he says, why didn’t he have his guy lobby for a fair fight district that would have included all of Passaic and Sussex Counties and all of Bergen County that is south of I-80 and west of SR-17?

    The fact of the matter is that the blame game does not get anyone anywhere.  The BCDO needs to postpone its convention until after the April 2 filing deadline, which would enable both Castle and Duffy to compete against Gussen for the party line. It would also give other candidates like the aforementioned Paul Aronsohn and others like Camille Abate, Byron Arnao, and Carol Hoernlein to consider running as well.

    Rather than getting pissed off, Democrats inside and outside of CD5 should be demanding that the BCDO do the right thing and postpone its convention.

  6. Blue12345

    So is there no one running against Garrett now?  Wow.

    I agree with a few of the previous posters, in that Rothman should have collected his signatures just in case.  But I can’t say I blame him for giving deference to the Bergen County Democrats who thought they would be getting someone else.

    As for the Bergen County Democrats, they should be quite embarrassed right now…this type of disorganization should be unacceptable for an organization with the important responsible of pushing the Democratic party.  


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