In Bergen County where many Democrats rage against the machine, Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen is the CD 5 machine candidate for the House, and Jason Castle is not. Gussen has been on the Teaneck Council for six years, but the Bergen Record has endorsed charismatic newcomer Castle as the person who “offers the party the best chance for an upset in November.” Gussen has not reported receiving any donations to the FEC, but Castle has reported both donations and his own personal loan. Gussen has created no website to reach out to potential voters nor an active facebook page (his last entry was May 14), whereas Castle has used both well. Gussen backed out of the initial CD debate, but Castle joined it. If Gussen has done much retail campaigning, he has not told us where or when, but Castle has been all over the four-county CD. Is Gussen acting like someone who wants to represent 745,000 people? Does he care? Is he really running?
Bergen County is home for more than 70% of the registered voters in CD 5. Saturday at a Teaneck park event for “Moms and kids for Castle” and at Castle’s headquarters (below Senator Weinberg’s office), there was a sense of energy, enthusiasm and momentum. At the headquarters people were on the phones, canvassers were coming in and out, supporters were visiting and volunteers were handing out literature. Castle makes his key positions publicly available and easily accessible, whereas Gussen does not.
Castle has wind in his sails. He drew the first ballot line in Essex and has Democratic committee backing in Sussex and Warren. Larouche Democrat candidate Diane Sare, who has compared Obama to Hitler and called for the President’s impeachment, has her small niche. Gussen has the Bergen machine. He became the “accidental party candidate” or last “person standing” as a succession of other candidates toyed with the idea of running, but then bowed out. However, it is the progressive Castle who has served the party best by launching an aggressive campaign and building momentum and enthusiasm. Castle was initially considered to be running “against all odds,” but his odds are strengthening. In a world where turnout rules, to succeed he now needs all the help possible to get out the vote. To volunteer go here.