Why Sheldon Adelson Cares About who Builds Burlington County’s Roads
There’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about a potential Christie-Booker gubernatorial race next year. Booker has the star power to match the outside money that Christie will be receiving from the unlimited bank accounts of the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson. The Newark Mayor is also one of the few contenders who would receive the same type of fawning coverage from the mainstream media that the governor enjoys. But a post-mortem of some local election results indicates that the right wing oil barons and religious extremists may have their eye on another prize as well.
In an article buried on NJ.com, it was revealed that Sheldon Adelson’s comrades pumped $112,000 into misleading and untruthful negative ads supporting the two losing candidates in the recent race for Burlington County Freeholder. Now that amount of money is chump change for Adelson, but the fact that he’s interested in Freeholder races is important. Not that he’d make a ton of money off of the roads and hospitals that the Freeholders control, but because Freeholders are one of the farm teams for potential legislative candidates. The more fellow travellers that Adelson can put on Freeholder boards, the more potential candidates he grooms for legislative positions.
All 120 seats of the New Jersey legislature are being contested. Wouldn’t the Republicans be delighted if they could capture control of one or both houses? That would be a disaster for New Jersey’s middle class.
Despite its reputation as a blue state, New Jersey’s GOP is alive well, and eager to take over. And while there are a handful of moderate Republicans in power who vote their conscience like Senator Diane Allen, the majority of Republican legislators, including so-called moderates like Kip Bateman, are more often than not under the thumb of Chris Christie and his Koch Brothers patrons.
Democrats in the legislature are not perfect. I wish we could have a Senate full of Barbara Buonos and an Assembly full of John McKeons. But that isn’t going to happen.
Many Democrats, especially readers of this blog, are borderline apoplectic that their party is controlled by powerful bosses – mostly unelected ones. That bothers me too. But I’m pragmatic. Supporting a progressive and independent third party would be an exercise in futility. In general, any Democrat, boss-influenced or not, is better than a Christie-controlled Republican.
Take, for example, my Assemblyman, Troy Singleton. He’s an unabashed admirer of the unelected South Jersey Democratic Czar George Norcross III.
Singleton’s positions on charter schools and pension/benefit reform bother me to no end. But he and I agree more than we disagree. He’s in favor of marriage equality, women’s health, and most other issues pertaining to labor unions. Singleton is a hard worker, always available to talk, and has no hidden agenda.
Now consider the people he defeated in the last election – Christie acolytes who would simply be a rubber stamp who vote against any and all bills that would promote the middle class over the wealthy, ensure women’s health, and secure rights for all New Jerseyans. I am thrilled that Troy Singleton represents me in the General Assembly and I know that where we agree to disagree, he’s willing to listen and discuss the issue.
So get ready for the onslaught of outside money – not just for Chris Christie, but for current GOP Freeholders and other Tea Party sympathizers in the upcoming legislative races. Sitting out the election because you don’t like the Democratic candidate is not an option. Now is the time to get “good” Democrats involved in the process.
The 2012 Presidential race showed that at least at the national level elections couldn’t be bought. Let’s hope the same is true for elections on the state level.