Tag Archive: Roy Cho

The Battle for CD 5

The public battle against incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett is heating up while a challenger battle is percolating slowly. There are more than enough issues to counter Rep. Scott  Garrett’s seven-term incumbency in CD 5. Yesterday in Glen Rock Garden State Equality protesters were incensed over Garrett’s bigotry. In addition, many of his votes in Congress are an outrage to the average New Jersey voter. However, few residents pay much attention to what their representative does in Washington.

A key to defeating Rep. Garrett in the 2016 election is a challenger to put out a strong positive message and explain why Garrett is so bad for the district (and America.) This is expensive. Even with $1 million the well-regarded last challenger Roy Cho could not make big TV buys and lost by 13 points. Because this incumbent is so entrenched the challenger will need to launch mayor TV ads, mail rounds of circulars, hire a strong staff, and implement effective street-outreach and get-out-the-vote – an effort much more substantial than in most other districts.  

Adam Silverstein, a consultant for unannounced Dem candidate Josh Gottheimer calculates a successful campaign could necessitate as much as $4 million. In just a few months Gottheimer, according to his June 30 FEC report, has raised $631,000, largely out-of-state, from some 150 individuals contributing $2,700 and others donating lesser amounts. In addition he received $6,500 from PAC’s and committees. He has $586,000 cash on hand.

More on strategy below the fold.

Garden State Equality calls for an end to Rep. Garrett’s parade of hate

Garden State Equality (GSE) members and friends of the LGBT community protested today outside Rep. Scott Garrett’s CD 5 Glen Rock office. As GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen exclaimed they were incensed at the report that Garrett would not donate to his party’s House fundraising arm because it supports gay candidates. However, he does support and sponsor the anti-LGBT “First Amendment Defense Act” which would prevent the federal government from taking action against individuals and businesses because of their religious beliefs. Andrea Bowen, also said, “We need to show that Rep. Garrett’s hateful actions are not New Jersey values.” GSE calls upon Garrett to bring a halt to his parade of hate.

Posters cried out: Less Garrett Better Tomorrow. Equality: The American Dream. Garrett is anti LGBT, Anti Woman and an Equal Opportunity Bigot. Hate is not a family value. Let’s be Scott Free.

Rev. DuBreuil in her invocation said, “Our God loves us all. Bigotry should not exist in your creation. Help us to push back against this dying gasp of bigotry.”

Speaking for the Gay Mens’ Work Group of NJ Health Planning Group, Ray Welsh talked about how Garrett’s promotion of bigotry within his district makes more gay people stay closeted and is reflected in the higher incidence of HIV there.  

The attendance included people from GSE, National Organization of Women, PFlag, and the Gay Activist Alliance of Morris County. Republican CD 5 challenger Michael Cino who opposes this discrimination is hoping, as unrealistic as it might seem, that Garrett will soon be forced to resign and that there will be a special election. Adam Siverstein, consultant for Democratic CD 5 candidate Josh Gottheimer who has already raised $633,000, mentioned that to be successful here requires large TV buys – an expensive proposition calling for several million dollars.

Also in attendance were reporters from the Record, Star-Ledger and NJTV. Not in attendance was Scott Garrett.

For recent commentary on Garrett  go here (Herb Jackson), and here (Tom Moran).  

Will Mr. Gottheimer go to Washington?

It’s still early to judge the likely success of a Democrat for congress in CD5, but it’s never too early for a Democratic candidate here to go full court press. The primary election is only about 12 months away, and the general election is a difficult race to win. One such candidate, Josh Gottheimer, is a North Caldwell native who moved back to North Jersey with his family three years ago. Currently he is General Manager, Corporate Strategy, Microsoft. Previously he was speech writer for President Clinton, worked for the FCC and on the presidential campaigns of John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2008. In the 2014 election Democrat Roy Cho got started early, appeared promising, but with only 43% of the vote fared no better than the 2012 CD 5 candidate Adam Gussen, also at 43%.

The ideal person to beat arch-conservative Rep. Scott Garrett (since 2003) needs: 1. A ton of cash (Roy Cho raised $1,250,000 and still lost); 2. Name recognition which, if one lacks it, requires time, effort and money to acquire (in the 2012 election Jim McQueeny, a public relations executive and former News12 anchor, was well known and would likely have been well-funded, but decided not to run); 3. Ability to win over independents (CD 5 voter registration: Independent: 233,000, Republican: 132,000 and Democrat: 120,000) 4. Willingness to spend full-time on the race, particularly to travel throughout the large, diverse district to meet and greet voters; 5. A strong, vibrant presence on social media (none of his predecessors excelled in this field); 6. A strong staff; 7. It would be helpful if he/she has served in a Bergen County elected position (also in 2012 hopes were pinned on then state assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D) who was well regarded and known but bowed out). Not an easy resume to find.  

In Fair Lawn Christie’s show must go on

The 129th “Town Hall” this morning was polished but boring. Outside Mother Nature was teasing us with 45 degree weather but we still had to walk blocks through snow and slush under the watch of local police. No demonstrators protested outside, perhaps, believing their best efforts were in the courts. After going through security we entered the “theater in the round” – more accurately a basketball court. There was no high tech glitz projected on walls as in past events. Instead above the court were four banners with reproductions of pie charts and bar graphs from Gov. Christie’s budget warning us about debt and Pen/Ben problems. Some 300 attended – primarily the elderly and youth.

Fair Lawn is a town where in the last General Election Democrats Cory Booker and Roy Cho won their races and where all three state legislators are Democrats. You would not necessarily know that from the warm welcome Christie received as he strode in toward the center of the room. Fourteen video camera operators plus photographers leaped into action. A somewhat slimmer but still portly person, he exuded his usual confidence and spoke in a calm, reasonable-sounding way to the audience. His speech lasted about 25 minutes rehashing what he said in his budget address. He praised himself for reducing the size of government and promised no new taxes or even surprisingly user fees (a dubious promise.) Without him in Trenton he said there is no adult supervision, so presumably he will be providing little supervision in the future. He waxed on about what he did in 2011 to reduce Pen/Ben costs and launched the same arguments for his current Pen/Ben proposals. (“No other way to fix the problem.”) Nothing new here.

2014 New Jersey Stars

Tis the season for lists. So here goes. The brightest stars in 2014 include the well-known and the less well known. Some are newcomers and some have been with us for years. Some hold powerful jobs while others convey a powerful message.  

Go below the fold to celebrate these people and read why they shine brightly.

Feel free to add your own stars. There are many more out there.  

November 4, 2014: Looking Back & Recapping

In the U. S. elections last week Republicans took control of the U. S. Senate with 7 new seats and as of now have a lead of 52 to 46 with two undecided. In the House of Representatives Republicans, already in the majority, have gained 12 seats to lead 244 to 184 with 7 undecided. In gubernatorial races, where Christie spent so much time, Republicans gained net 3 seats with 2 still undecided.  

In New Jersey we note in congressional races low Democratic turn out, an exciting victory in CD 12, heartbreak in CD 3 and 5, the winners all being those who raised the most money, independent funders spending big in CD 3 but not so much elsewhere, the departure of a highly respected congressman in CD 12, mixed quality of public polls, all incumbents winning, and the congressional delegation balance remaining unchanged at six R’s and six D’s. Both Public Questions passed. Voting by mail has increased from 10,000 in 2003 to 139,000 in the most recent report for 2013.

Also worth noting is the resurgence of county Democrats in Bergen, which has the state’s largest number of registered voters and whose Dem. Party Chair Lou Stellato is being wooed by potential gubernatorial candidates. Jim Tedesco (D) defeated long-time politician Kathe Donovan (R) to become the B. C. Executive. Current Freeholder Board Chair David Ganz (D) was re-elected as was Joan Voss (D), allowing the Board to remain in control of Democrats.    

U. S. Senate

With a bulging bankroll and a win in the 2012 Special Election, no Dem (big or small) wanted to take on Cory Booker (D) in the Senate primary. A Republican called Jeff Bell, who loves the Gold Standard (ended in 1933) and had not resided in NJ the past 30 years, defeated someone called Richard Pezzullo by 5,000 votes to become the challenger. Bell has since returned to obscurity while Booker continues on as a celebrity. (997,000 to 763,000)

For brief comments on the 12 congressional races go below the fold.

November 4, 2014 Turnout and Voter Registration

A couple of points are apparent in this election: Registering voters in one’s party is important but it does not assure higher turn out for that party. Republicans did much better than Democrats in turnout this year. We are skating on thin ice if we don’t do better. While we probably can’t do much about the ill-effects of gerrymandering and incumbency, we should be able to increase our turnout and maybe even increase our representation in congress.

This year (as in the past) Democrats had far more registered voters (1,796,000) than Republicans (1,081,000), but you would not guess that from the results: six congressional Democratic wins and six Republican wins. Of course, in our state unaffiliated registered voters are the wild card, and this year there were 2,611,000 of them. Nonetheless, Democrats had far more of their registered supporters sit it out (or vote for the opposite party) than Republicans, and it’s not just because this is a “Republican Year” or a non-presidential year.                  

November 4, 2014 Electability Inequality

In the Senate race incumbent Cory Booker (D) during the election cycle by October 15 had receipts of almost $18 million. His challenger Jeff Bell (R) raised $518,000. Today we have not only income inequality but electability inequality. In our federal elections only the financially endowed can succeed. Like a high stakes game of poker, even the better players don’t sit at the table if they can’t raise the money.

In the three races where Democratic challengers put up a strong fight but lost – CD 2, CD 3, and CD 5 – the Democrats were substantially out-funded by the Republican winners. By September 15 in CD 2 Incumbent Frank LoBiondo (R) had $1,018,417 and William Hughes (D) had $93,031. In CD 3 Aimee Belgard (D) had $368,115 and Tom MacArthur (R) who had loaned himself $5 million had $1,102,847. In CD 5 incumbent Scott Garrett (R) had $2,829,026 and Roy Cho (D) had $78,552. In three other races, CD 8, CD 9, and CD 10, where Democratic incumbents were dominant the Republican challengers by September 30 had submitted no financial reports presumably because their receipts did not exceed the $17,300 threshold. In every single Senatorial and Congressional race the candidate who raised the most won the contest.

November 4, 2014 Election Polling

The public polls by mid October and early November were correct in projecting who the winners would be. However there was a difference in the quality of their output. The State’s Unofficial List of Senate Election Returns indicate that in the race for U. S. Senate 1,793,173 votes were cast, out of the total state-wide registered voters of 5,492,702, so the turn out rate was 32.7%.

Incumbent Cory Booker received 997,331 votes, 55.6%, Bell got 762,981 votes, 42.5%, and Independents received 32,321 votes, 1.9%, so Booker ended up + 13.1 points. The Monmouth poll projected Booker at +14 points, very close, and Fairleigh Dickinson at + 16 points, also close, but the Stockton poll had him at + 24 points, quite far off.

In the CD 2 race which resulted in LoBiondo 60.1% vs. Hughes 37% or LoBiondo + 23.1 points, Stockton had LoBiondo +19 points – off by 4 points.

In the CD 3 race Stockton had MacArthur at + 5 points but MacArthur won with 54.7% against Belgard’s 43.6 or 11.1 points – off by 6 points and not so good, whereas Monmouth in CD 5 had Garrett by + 11 points in a race Garret won by 12.7 points – very good.

Not all polls are equally good but the prize definitely goes to Monmouth.  

Inside the Cho Campaign

promoted by Rosi

I started this post-mortem a week out from election as the ramp up to the final push was in full swing. The copy machine was running full-time as the cases of paper came in waves off the delivery trucks. In my many years of working on political campaigns, I’ve never witnessed what has taken place since the Monmouth University poll [showing Cho just 5 points back, “within striking distance of Garrett – ed.] was released and the rest of the country learned what we already knew; the Cho campaign was one of the few opportunities in a Republican year where a Democrat threatened an entrenched Republican incumbent.

The electricity among the volunteers and even some of the staff grew with every article from The Record, The Ledger, The Herald, Politickernj, the AP, etc. The second poll from Monmouth University was released around Noon that final Thursday and the news wasn’t good: down by 11; trailing in Bergen where we were once up by 12. Looking deeper into the crosstabs we had made up 5 points in the western part of the district where we had spent no money. Something wasn’t making sense. If we trashed the poll in the media, I had visions of Team Romney poo-pooing the pollsters and thus Romney being caught flat footed having not prepared a concession speech. So we sat silently despite internal concern over the Monmouth findings.