Tag Archive: Linda Stender

Stender looks forward and back

Linda Stender said she wants another term as Assemblywoman:

“My immediate plan is to seek another term to the legislature, and I have great support from the state chair, my county chair, and I’ve got very good working relationships with my delegation members,” she said. “There’s a lot of important work to be done, we’re in a tough time in our economy and state and I’ll be looking forward to taking on those challenges.”

Defending his praise of Senator Lance at yesterday’s Senate sendoff, Senator Lesniak said he would back her efforts:

“I have a long personal friendship and admiration of Senator Lance and it had nothing to do with Assemblywoman Stender,” said Lesniak. “If she wants to run for re-election she has my support.”

I wasn’t really that surprised by Lesniak’s comments in support of Lance because Legislators are notorious for their glowing praise of each other, but apparently others were.  I’m sure some people who were hoping for a shot at the Stender Assembly seat won’t be to thrilled about her decision as they will have to wait a little longer. Stender also spoke about her most recent Congressional effort:

Today, Stender sought to dispel the notion that her campaign failed in large part because of internal divisions and pressure from outside groups to take on out-of-state staff and focus on less pertinent issues like birth control.

“That stuff is nonsense. It’s concocting drama in the aftermath,” said Stender, referring to contentions that EMILY’s List officials had pressured her to put Washington, DC-based staffers in control of the campaign.

While Stender acknowledged that there was tension between her Garden State staffers and those brought in from Washington, she did not consider it a decisive factor. She pointed out that her narrow loss last year was often blamed on the fact that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) offered too little help, too late.

“Last year the post-mortem was that I lost because I didn’t have help from DC. This year I did and the post-mortem is that’s the reason I lost,” she said.

It’s an interesting read.  Here was Blue Jersey’s take on the race.

How Linda Stender Lost

Post-mortems are a sad duty in any world, in no small way because it means “after death.”  The death in this case are the hopes of thousands of volunteers, donors and staff to send Linda Stender to Congress to represent New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.

This has been a four year effort for many of us, starting before Linda even decided to run in 2006.  It is hard for some of us because we know Linda personally and like her very much, and worked so hard and invested so much in getting her to the finish line.

In 2006 we came within 1.5 percent of the vote against a three term Republican named Mike Ferguson.  It was a stunningly unexpected effort that shocked the national party which gave secondary support to the campaign while dumping millions in others where the margin was seven points or more.

In 2008 Linda lost by a little less than nine percent, a stunning defeat in a race where we saw polls putting Stender even or just behind State Senator Leonard Lance in the days before the election.  It was made all the more stunning in that 2008 was a better year for Democrats than 2006, yet the Stender campaign fell far behinds its previous result.

How could that happen?  Lance didn’t run a great campaign.  Stender had lots more money.  The DCCC dropped over a million dollars into the district, while the NRCC walked away and focused on NJ3.  Registration for Democrats jumped dramatically.  And then there was that guy running for President who brought Democratic turnout to amazing levels.  The environment couldn’t have been better.

But she lost anyway.

Because, as near as we can tell, they forgot all the lessons of 2006 that got them close.  Instead of building on the energy and volunteers from the previous election they brought in an entirely new team from outside the district, ignored the organizations like Democracy for America that supported Stender in 2006, and blew off local expertise in favor of a cookie-cutter campaign.

What happened to Stender?

The Star-Ledger‘s Gabriel Gluck says that Leonard Lance owes a thank you – wait for it – to Kate Whitman’s well-financed primary challenge.

There is a small bit of truth there – Lance may have built a bit of name-recognition in the primary.  It didn’t help him with fund-raising – the most salient indication of whether or not a candidate has the support of his or her district.  If anything, it showed him that he could win an under-funded district-wide race.

Ingrid Reed of the Eagleton Institute has another explanation, though:

“We had less people going to the polls and you had 20,000 more people registered,” Reed said. On Tuesday, 279,000 people voted in the district, which covers parts of Union, Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, compared with 280,000 in 1984.

So how do you explain registering an additional 20,000 voters and then not getting them to the polls?  With Obama at the top of the ticket and Lautenberg’s steady presence a silent endorsement, Stender just didn’t energize people at all.  She didn’t turn people against Lance and she didn’t make people want her as their Representative.  In short, she failed.

Stender is a Spender…?

Stender is a Spender. Or maybe not. I don’t know where she spent her money, time, or creative energy.

It certainly doesn’t seem like she did it in the 2008 campaign. And what advantages she had!

Money. Fame. More Ds than Rs in the 7th. An idiot R president with an approval rating just a bit higher than his IQ. The Obama NJ blue wave. But she had three distinct disadvantages: 1-The DCCC ran her campaign. 2- Abby Curran as a campaign manager and 3- She ran against Leonard Lance.

A campaign that was run on New Jersey turf, needs to be run by New Jersey rules. And this campaign was most definitely not. It seemed to be run by the politico-techno hack crew of the DCCC. And they did a poor job.

The 2006 campaign seemed to be run like the Rush Holt campaigns of 1998 and 2000—fun, creative, energetic,—with a seemingly endless crew of Democratic volunteers willing to cut  a vein for Linda Stender. Stender reached out everywhere to every county in the district. She even kicked ass in the very Republican western section of New Jersey in Hunterdon County. Rosie Efthim and the DFA crew gave Linda a substantial higher bump in 2006, from mediocre Brozak campaign of 2004. Nathan Rudy and his DumpMike.com crew did wonders for her, too in Union and Somerset. Back then, Stender reached out to progressives, regular Dems, Republicans and all over the 7th. People looked forward having her come to town.

But the 2008 campaign, seemed lackluster, boring, unresponsive and too out of touch. For example, some DCCC politico-techno hack cut the ad accusing Lance of being part of the Whitman pension bond scheme. Bad judgment to treat Lance like any other Republican. He is not. If you’re in New Jersey, you know not to do that. But, if you’re a hack D staffer from out of state, you just run it by the DCCC Playbook. And like Paul Mulshine pointed out, that lie did not play well. And when you have a campaign manager that neither returns calls nor seeks out the counsel of central NJ’s finest Democratic activists and elected folks, your campaign is gonna miss a big piece of the volunteer pie.

Stender could have beaten Lance. Tough, but winnable. Had she kept to the same campaign strategy from ’06, she would have had a better chance. For all the independence Lance shows in the Seabnte in NJ in his largely Republican district, he won’t have the same freedom and opportunity in DC as part of the extreme R minority party in Congress. And his first vote will be for a man as Speaker of The House who voted with Bush more than 95% of the time. That’s what she should have spent her time telling people. But she didn’t. Instead, she spent all her time trying to tag Lance as a spender, a right-wing ideologue, and out of touch with the district.

She will not get a chance to run for Conrgess again. Now, she can spend her time in Trenton. Maybe Stender is a spendthrift.  

Washington Post on NJ heading into Election Day

Here’s what the Washington Post has to say about the state of the election heading into the big day:

Obama should win with little difficulty in this reliably Democratic state, but two House seats are tossups, and a third is a potential upset. In the 3rd District, GOP Rep. H. James Saxton is retiring after 12 terms, but Democratic challenger John Adler, a state senator from Cherry Hill, has strong party backing and has assembled one of the best field organizations in the country against Chris Myers, a Lockheed Martin executive and Republican mayor of Medford.

The 7th District, also a GOP-created vacancy, had been viewed as friendlier to Republicans, but Democratic state legislator Linda Stender has proven a tough competitor against state Sen. Leonard Lance. Republicans are less worried about, but still distracted by, the 5th District race, featuring Dennis Shulman, a blind rabbi endorsed by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), against GOP Rep. Scott Garrett. Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg is expected to win easily over former congressman Dick Zimmer.

Lets hope that field organization pulls Adler across the finish line in NJ-3 and the Republicans are so distracted by the Shulman campaign in the 5th, they lose both NJ-5 and NJ-7.  Best of luck to all of our campaigns.

All Aboard the Change Express Tour!

With less than a week to go until Election Day, all of us here at the Linda Stender campaign are excited to kick off our Change Express tour across the 7th District, which will include a very special visit from President Bill Clinton!

Starting October 29th, Linda has been barnstorming a bunch of train stops across the 7th to share her message of change. Due to high gas prices, more people than ever are taking mass transit to get to work, yet many of New Jersey’s citizens have lost their jobs due to the recent economic crisis. And, President Clinton is coming to New Jersey to help send Linda Stender to Congress to fight for the change we need. After eight years of failed Bush policies, we need strong Democrats like Barack Obama and Linda Stender in Washington to fight for middle class families.

Linda with Governor Dick Codey and the staff of the Reo Diner in Woodbridge!

Here are some of the next few scheduled stops on the tour!

Tewksbury Candidate Forum

Thursday, October 30th

7PM to 8:00PM  

Old Turnpike School

171 Old Turnpike Road


Meet n’ greet at Bound Brook Train Stop

Friday, October 31st

6:30AM to 7:30AM

Bound Brook

Rally for Change with President Bill Clinton

Saturday, November 1st

12:30 PM

Union County College

Commons Area

1033 Springfield Avenue


Free tickets are available at the following locations:

Campaign HQ

256 South Ave


Somerset Victory ’08

1910 Washington Valley Rd


Hunterdon Dem HQ

155 Main Street


Middlesex Dem HQ

231 Bridge St, Bldg F


(Parking space is limited for this event, so we encourage all that plan to attend to please carpool!)

Linda cares passionately about the issues affecting New Jersey’s middle class families, and she would love to hear from you. You can either stop by the stations listed above, or you can visit our website to find out where Linda will be next!

With the final week before Election Day ahead of us, Linda needs your help more than ever! We are pulling out all the stops, and we look forward to working with you help get out the vote until you enter the voting booth! You can sign up to volunteer here to make calls and knock on doors until Tuesday, November 4th! Any time you can give will make a huge difference on Election Day.

Linda would not have come so close to winning in 2006 without you. Please help us make this the year we put Linda and all Democrats over the top! Please help spread the word about Linda’s Change Express Tour with your family, friends and neighbors. We hope to see you soon!

President Bill Clinton to Campaign with Linda Stender

The announcement says it all:

Today, Linda Stender announced President Bill Clinton will headline a “Rally for Change” for her campaign this Saturday, November 1. The rally will support the entire New Jersey Democratic ticket and her campaign for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th District.

WHAT:         Rally for Change with Linda Stender and special guest President Bill Clinton

WHERE:       Union County College

                       Commons Area

                       1033 Springfield Avenue


WHEN:          12:30 PM

If you have the opportunity to go, please consider posting about your experiences here at Blue Jersey.

When do I get my best canvassers back from PA? Nov 5th ?

I signed up at MyBO, and proceeded to create canvass events in my area, joined all the groups around my area.

I get at least 4-5 emails every day about recruiting people for PA, enough already. Obama is up in PA almost as much as in New Jersey.

I kept hearing about how Obama thought the down ticket races are so important, but come on enough is enough. Obama sent an email out to Obama supporters in NJ-11, asking them to vote for Frank Lautenberg, with no mention of Tom Wyka, whats up with that ?

Is Obama coat tails going to make up the split for Tom Wyka, or Dennis Shulman, could Linda Stender use 80 more canvassers ? What about Adler.. hes up in the polls, but gheesh.

SO My friends and I have run roll playing training sessions for people that have never canvassed before. But I had one lady in Livingston quit after an hour, and I paired her with an experienced canvasser. SIGH.

I see 4 Congressional races that in the right conditions, coat tails, that we could flip, and with Obama leading Tom Wyka in NJ-11, thats going to be important.

But PA is in good shape in the polls, when do I get my best peole back? Nov 5th?