In the roller coaster world of Democratic candidates for the 5th CD, Matt Friedman, State House Bureau, reports today that Jim McQueeny has abruptly cancelled his plan to run. Yesterday afternoon an event in Oradell was announced for this Sunday to launch his campaign. McQueeny now says, “The suddenness of the opportunity, with events propelled further by the enthusiastic response to it, just didn’t allow for the proper time for me and my business partners to transition the work of our company’s customers.” He now joins Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen) and NFL legend Harry Carson who said they were considering a candidacy but later removed themselves from consideration.
Amidst the disarray presented to the county Democratic committees, there remain three candidates. Deputy Teaneck Mayor Adam Gussen, who appears to have gained little traction or support, is on the Bergen County Democratic Committee endorsement ballot (as was McQueeny) for its meeting scheduled for March 15. Passaic County Freeholder Director Terry Duffy, who has never formally removed himself from the campaign, did not obtain necessary signatures to be on the ballot. Duffy had said he expected McQueeny to enter the race and win the Bergen Democratic endorsement, at which point Duffy would be a “team player” and exit the race. Entering too late to be on the ballot is 30-year old Jason (J Paul) Castle, a Marine Corps veteran and current information technology executive who has never run for political office.
Whoever will ultimately run against incumbent Representative Scott Garrett will face a number of challenges – one of which is money. With campaign expenditures in each cycle continuing to increase exponentially, cash matters and particularly so in this expensive media market where the challenger is running against a long-time, entrenched incumbent. As Vice Chair of the House Budget Committee, Garrett is a natural recipient of financial largesse. In the 2011-12 cycle he started out with $861,000 in Beginning Cash. He added $671,000 in Individual Contributions, $150 in Party Committee Contributions (not very impressive) and $525,000 in PAC or Other Contributions (impressive.) As of December 31, 2011, of all incumbents in nearby districts Garrett has the largest amount of Cash On Hand: $1,712,000. In comparison: Rothman (D-09): $1,704,000, Pascrell (D- currently in 08 but running in 09): $1,496,000, Payne (D-10): $1,411,000, Lance (R-07): $513,000, Frelinghuysen (R-11): $440,000, and Sires (D-13): $234,000). In the 5th CD no other candidate reported any Cash On Hand as of December 31, 2011.
In the Cole Porter song alluded to in the title of this diary, Miss Otis feels it’s her personal responsibility to inform her host that she will not be able to attend the event. Curiously, in the case of McQueeny’s candidacy, he himself has been largely mum, allowing his plans to maybe run, then to run, and today not to run to be announced through third parties or the press.