From the diaries — Juan
Today at 11:00 am in front of the Weinberg, Johnson, Huttle campaign HQ on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, Senator Weinberg and her running mates announced they have met the first hurdle in qualifying for Clean Elections funds.
Senator Loretta Weinberg 452
Assemblyman Gordon Johnson 428
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle 430
Clara S. Nibot for Senate- 162
Frank Cifferelli for Assembly – 56
Wojciech J. Siemaszkiewicz for Assembly – 78
To give some perspective – because Weinberg’s team participated in the Primary in June, they could not start qualifying for Clean Elections money until AFTER the primary. Meanwhile – their Republican opponents, who started in April (several MONTHS before the Weinberg team) could not even raise 400 qualifying contributions in that time.
Folks today said they actually felt sorry for the Republicans, because the results on their part were so pathetic. And so after being accused of not wanting to participate in clean elections by their opponents, the Weinberg team handily beat the Republicans in Clean Elections donations in a much shorter time.
Todays press conference was great – Senator Weinberg explained that the Clean Elections milestone was an important one to hit because it shows the voters that NO SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY will be used in this election. Their commitment to ending Pay-To-Play is serious. It was fitting, the Senator pointed out, that the announcement was made in Teaneck, where efforts to stop the practice of Pay-To-Play are underway.
The real star of the Press Conference was LD37 District registered voter Frances Levine who – curious about the hubbub going on in front of the HQ while walking to the butcher shop on Cedar Lane, asked what was going on. Senator Weinberg explained the Clean Elections program to her on the spot – right in front of NJN news cameras. Ms. Levine wanted to donate right then and there. Opponents could have accused this of being a setup – but Ms. Levine was for real. You couldn’t have asked for a better scenario to show how the Clean Elections campaign works by asking a voter on the street for her vote. Frances pretty much won everybody’s heart right then and there.
When asked by reporters from NJN what worked about the program, Gordon Johnson said it improved “face time” with the average voter. Not having to worry about raising so much money increased the amount of time he spent with each voter asking for their support – and ten dollars. He said it takes about 20 minutes per voter – just to explain the program and do the paperwork right.
The main downside of the current program is the sheer amount of paperwork involved. Reports must be given in EVERY WEEK. That is a lot of work for the staff of the candidates. It was downright brutal – paperwork wise for the accountants. You would think it would be easy to raise only ten dollars from folks but as Assemblywoman Huttle stated – you have to explain to a married couple that instead of just making out one check for 60 bucks and one form – they have to make out 6 (six) checks and fill out 6 (six) different forms.
The idea is great, some kinks need to be worked out, but the absolute best payback is that in November – the Clean Elections Candidates get that moniker next to their names on the ballot AND a 250 word statement on the sample ballot. It is like getting free advertising. Weinberg, Huttle and Johnson qualified for that – their Republican opponents did not.
Senator Weinberg’s team met the first hurdle. But now we have the next deadline coming up – September 30, 2007. So PLEASE if you have friends who haven’t given their money in – they can still do so UNTIL SEPT 30. That qualifies the Clean Elections Candidates for the next round of funds. They need 400 more registered voters in District 37. So get calling, tell your friends and family they still can participate. This is NOT OVER – it’s just beginning.
Now folks know the Weinberg team is serious about fighting Pay-To-Play. Lets help them out, what do you say?