There are two Republicans in this photo. The man on the right is a swindler, a criminal, and an agent of a foreign power. The man on the left is the mayor of Mount Laurel Township.
Both men are up for re-election in 2020. As it now stands, both will run on the Republican line, with Mr. Trump at the top and Mayor Folcher further down.
Mayor Folcher is politically astute. Given the Democratic sweep in the last township election, he knows that running on the same ticket as our incompetent president is not a good thing.
In order to disassociate himself from Trump, Mayor Folcher and his two Republican cohorts have concocted a scheme (which is perfectly legal) to disentangle himself from Trump on the 2020 ballot.
Under New Jersey law, a town can choose among a small number of types of government under which they are run. Currently, Mount Laurel’s government is a “partisan” one, meaning local candidates run under the banner of their political party and are elected in the normal November cycle. But Mayor Folcher, along with his two GOP compadres, have proposed to change the town’s government to “non-partisan” where the elections are conducted in May. This would allow him to appear on a separate ballot, divorced from the Trump stench. Such a separate election may cost taxpayers up to $100,000).
(As an aside: Remember another Republican did the same thing in 2013. When a U.S. Senate seat opened up due to the death of Senator Lautenberg, Governor Chris Christie called for a special election THREE weeks before the scheduled November vote so that he would not have to share a ballot with the highly popular Cory Booker. That cost state taxpayers over $12 million to assuage Christie’s ego.)
Mayor Folcher ordered (without council authorization) the town solicitor to draft an ordinance moving the election to May. The first reading of this ordinance will be at tonight’s council meeting, where it will be approved by the 3-2 GOP majority. The second reading and final vote will be in June.
Mayor Folcher is displaying the hypocrisy that pervades his party. One of two things is true. Either he supports the majority of Trump’s draconian agenda or he does not. If he does, he should have the courage of conviction to be on the ballot with Trump. If he does not, he must speak out and promote change. Change comes from the bottom, and if local Republican officials just give Trump a wink and a nod, the decline of America will continue.
There will be demonstrations at tonight’s meeting and again at the June meeting. But given the disdain directed toward voters that Folcher and his GOP counterparts have displayed to date, these will fall on deaf ears.
It makes little sense to spend $100,000 on a separate election when those funds could be better used to fix the plethora of potholes or other infrastructure problems. Democrats, independents, and fiscally responsible Republicans will need to mobilize to defeat this initiative when it appears on the November ballot.