Tag Archive: Camille Abate

Why Garrett Loves the Fifth District Primary Process

Yeah, we’ll be discussing NJ-5 for a while. Again. Still. – promoted by Rosi

Every two years we all jump on Blue Jersey to discuss if we can find a candidate to beat Scott Garrett.  So far it hasn’t happened.  In my humble opinion, one of the big reasons that we haven’t been able to find a good candidate to stand up is simple: The party line on the ballot.

The BCDO line candidate won the fifth district primary yet again yesterday.  Looking at the numbers of the Democratic Primary in the Bergen County part of the  Fifth is a near useless endeavor.  The reason Gussen did so well in Bergen is simple: the party line.  This is a sad but very real reality.  In years where there is a low primary turnout, the majority of primary voters are uneducated on the candidates.  So what they do instead of educating themselves and making an intelligent choice, is vote straight down the line.  Time and again we have seen Fifth district candidates be able to put their campaigns into cruise control and coast to victory on the line.  The result of the line is that potentially good candidates are scared away from running.  While the candidates that do run don’t let themselves get fully invested in their campaigns, because everyone who has been around Bergen politics long enough know that you have to get the line and not getting it puts months of hard work to waste.

My mother (Camille Abate for anyone that doesn’t know) is a perfect example of why the line dilutes potential fifth district candidates.  Following her first run for Congress in 2006, she wrote a less than tactful email that was “leaked” stating that Joe Ferriero ran the BCDO like a mob.  She then decided she was going to run again in 2007–this time with a much more professional campaign.  At the BCDO convention that year Mr. Ferriero told every committee member in his pocket to vote for Dennis Shulman, the vast majority of them did.  Even though we didn’t get the line, our campaign didn’t think much of the results.  After all we were running a real campaign this time and had raised a bunch of money ($290K by primary day).  We were very confident, feeling we had marketed our campaign significantly better in 2008 than in 2006.  However the result–much like this year–was nearly identical to 2006.  I’m not saying whether she should have won or lost the primary–thats old news–but to spend that much money and have the result be basically identical is telling.  We had campaigned from June 2007-June 2008, spending 40-60 hours a week raising money on the phones, and spending the rest of our time canvassing (usually to a positive response).  Despite all of that, the line still proved to be more powerful.  

My mother said afterward she didn’t think she would ever run again.  She couldn’t afford to spend that much time of her life campaigning only to have it potentially be torpedoed–at the BCDO convention–before the primary ever takes place.  I think many potential fifth district candidates feel the same way.  In the two election cycles (counting this one) since 2008, no candidate has made a full time committment to running for congress.  I believe the party line has a lot to do with that.

As I said in a post earlier today, Adam Gussen raised no money, had almost no social media presence, and did almost no campaigning.  Yet Adam Gussen won 55% of the vote.  If it isn’t clear now, I don’t think it ever will be: we need open primaries throughout New Jersey.  We need to force citizens to educate themselves on the candidates.  Until this happens, our party bosses will continue to hand pick our candidates, and much of New Jersey (and most of Bergen) will essentially continue to be a Democratic Oligarchy.

If we really want to beat Garrett, we need a system that encourages potential candidates to make running for congress a full time gig, encourage them to take the hours, days, weeks, and months it takes to adequately fundraise, and promote primary competition.  I believe open primaries and eliminating the line would do this.

Blue Jersey Radio LIVE Tonight with Bergen Freeholder Candidate Camille Abate

Camille Abate
Camille Abate, Bergen County Freeholder Candidate

Each week, Blue Jersey Radio streams LIVE with Trenton’s latest buzz, interviews with newsmakers, and your stimulating calls.

This week: We’re joined by Bergen County Freeholder Candidate Camille Abate who’s running as an independent in November in a race that will determine control in New Jersey’s most populous County.

Have an opinion about that? Drop ’em in the comments.

And, of course, we’re LIVE from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. tonight, so you can have your say. We’ll ready for your calls at: (646) 652-2773

Blue Jersey RadioListen to Blue Jersey Radio on internet talk radio

What’s Next in NJ-5?

After a disappointing 14% loss in a year when Democrats made gains all across the country NJ-5 can seem like a lost cause.  At the least, I thought we would build upon Paul Aronsohn’s gains and put Garrett in a vulnerable position going into 2010 and redistricting.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and will make national and statewide support more unlikely in the next election cycle.  That’s fine, as Assemblywoman Stender learned the hard way, you can’t win elections without the interests within the district being organized and motivated.  

There are several steps that can be taken to building an infrastructure, with an emphasis on a town-by-town basis, to keep constituents aware of Garrett’s abysmal record and allow the candidate in 2010 to hit the ground running with a fully functioning field operation.  

To start I think we need a district blog, which can hopefully recruit bloggers from this site that can cover all of the geographic regions of the district.  By recruiting local bloggers from separate parts of the district we can establish what the concerns are on the local level and give the eventual candidate a platform of issues (and hopefully shortcomings on Garrett’s part) that the eventual nominee can exploit.  Moreover, we can recruit local Democratic Mayors and elected officials to author Op-Eds on the site to voice their concerns and raise the issues that Garrett isn’t delivering on.      

Abate WILL support Shulman

[Promoted – This is an interesting diary, and it notes that Camille Abate is endorsing Dennis Shulman to take on Scott Garrett.  I might not have promoted it, but wanted to note that Shulman came to Blue Jersey and commented on the diary!  Other candidates should take note that that’s an excellent way to quietly and quickly engage us and get our respect — huntsu]

My name is Erik Preuss, I follow this website quite frequently but I have chosen tonight to sign up for it…most of you don’t know me…I am Camille Abate’s son.  The purpose of this diary is not to slander or smash anyone it is to make several points that some of you may not know or have refused to believe.

My mother is a compassionate, caring, and wonderful human being.  She has dedicated her entire life towards helping individuals and putting them above herself.  However, since declaring to run for Congress and in this entire run up until yesterdays primary she has been painted as a self-centered egotist who cares nothing about anybody or the party except to get herself into Congress.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  She is VERY passionate about the Democratic party and ran for Congress in 2006 and 2008 because she believed that she would stand the best chance to beat Scott Garrett in the fall.

Last night in her speech that she gave to her whole campaign team and to all of the volunteers who were on her campaign she told everyone that we needed to support Dennis Shulman against Garrett because beating Garrett has been the objective since day 1 and still is the obective.  She further told anyone who still has a vested interest in getting Garrett out of Congress that they should go and volunteer for Mr. Shulman.  This morning she called Dennis and left a voicemail in which she told him that he needed to fight hard against Garrett and that she would be completely behind him and do whatever he needed her to do to help him beat Garrett in the fall.  

Now you all may say to yourself that this is what any good democrat should do, however the purpose of me writing this is because my mother has repeatedly been painted as a disloyal Democrat who cares nothing about the party and I am trying to prove to everyone that this is in fact not true.  Her mailer’s that went out that were percieved as “attacking” Mr. Shulman were meant to show a comparison as to why she was the better candidate, granted maybe they could have been more tactful but when you run against the party line you need to try to do something that will shake things up and possibly give you an edge,  They were not meant to hurt Shulman and she will campaign and get all of her supporters out for him in the fall.  I myself and our campaigns field director Steve Carroll plan to call the Shulman campaign tomorrow to volunteer to help the effort to beat Garrett in the fall, he is the real detriment to our country and he is the ENTIRE reason that our campaign existed to remove a radical right wing Republican and try to make this country a better place.  That is still mine and my mothers aspiration(to have Garrett out of office this fall) and i want to congratulate Dennis Shulman on a race well run and i hope he plows through Garrett this November.

Abate: Vicious and Deceptive

In 281 BC, the Greek city-state of Tarentum consulted the Oracle of Delphi before picking Pyrrhus of Epirus as their general.  It was a move that would turn an otherwise unremarkable rebellion into a truism.  The following year, Pyrrhus landed on the Italian peninsula with some 25,000 troops.  He would win every battle with the Romans – but excessive losses and his decision to battle both Carthage and Roman at the same time would lend his name to a type of victory that leaves the victor so weakened as to be useless.

I believe that the 5th is winnable by a Democrat.  Voting trends have been moving towards this fact for four Congressional elections.  But Democrats are still outnumbered by Republicans and far, far outnumbered by unaffiliated voters.  For a Democrat to win, a candidate would have to mobilize strong Democratic support, pick up at least half of the moderates, and neutralize (at least) some of the moderate Republicans in the district.  Camille Abate is not this type of candidate.  A win for Camille Abate in June will be a Pyrrhic victory as her uber-negative, slash-and-burn campaign style will do nothing but unite Republicans and Independents against her – and against any Democrat in the district.

I was encouraged by her willingness to work between elections.  But apparently, the goal of her work was to make herself an even more polarizing figure.  While campaigning is always about spin and hyperbole, Abate manages to take that into vicious territory that is sure to destroy her broader support. Take, for example, her new mailer:

Abate Mailer 1

Did you know? George Bush = Dennis Shulman & Rob Andrews = Republican

Who knew in one day we would have two campaigns making the same asinine comparison?

First Frank Lautenberg’s campaign trotted out several African American ministers to compare Rob Andrews to George Bush Republicans:

“Rob Andrews walks and talks and votes like a Republican. Andrews was one of only a few Democrats to repeatedly support Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, which harmed our communities and neighborhoods,” said Rev. Grady James from First Bethel Baptist Church in Newark.

Tonight, Camille Abate’s campaign manager did the same with Dennis Shulman:

I believe our troops have endured far too much bloodshed in the name of a war that never should have been started and will fail no matter how long George Bush, John McCain, Scott Garrett and Dennis Shulman try to keep them there.

I was talking to some friends earlier who think the reason this is happening is because Democrats aren’t used to running primary campaigns in New Jersey (with the exception of some northern counties) so they end up saying silly things.


Camille Abate’s mailer is disappointing. It falsely claims that “Camille Abate is the ONLY candidate for Congress who had the courage to oppose the war from the start”. In fact, Dennis Shulman was also against the war from the start. And she knows it, too. The part about being the “ONLY candidate for Congress who has the courage to end the war…” is bogus, too. Shulman was one of the first to sign on to A Responsible Plan to End the War.

Abate Mailer

Shulman Snubs Media

In an effort to avoid debate with primary opponent Camille Abate, Dennis Shulman’s campaign has refused to respond to repeated requests to appear on the television program New Jersey Now.  This move calls into question Shulman’s viability in a general election matchup against Republican incumbent Scott Garret.

Refusal to communicate with members of the media will leave the Shulman campaign without precious relationships with the very media outlets covering the race through November.  If reporters seeking to cover the race fail to receive the courtesy of a reply, interest will fade and future coverage will not materialize in a general election competition.

Abate, who immediately accepted the request to appear on the program, is now better positioned to argue that Scott Garrett should participate in general election debate.  In refusing televised primary debate Shulman has lost the ability to argue for debate in a general election contest.

Any path to victory against incumbent Republican Scott Garret must include the ability to call him out on his extreme voting record.  As we have seen in past cycles, the opportunity to expose Scott Garret’s radical policy positions is greatly diminished without debate.

Since Scott Garrett will refuse debate, as he has in past elections, it is essential that the Democratic nominee have the ability to argue for debate in the mass media.  In refusing the opportunity to appear in televised debate during the primary, Shulman has weakened his ability to make a principled argument for debate in a general election contest.

Further indication of vulnerability in a general election matchup against Scott Garrett can be found in Shulman’s refusal to release head-to-head polling numbers.  This move is a stark contrast to Abate, who provided polling data indicating a potential victory over both Shulman and Garrett (Abate Polling Memo Attached).

Voters are fed up with Scott Garrett and will take viability seriously on June 3rd.  Democrats’ thirsty for real change will vote Abate because only she has the courage to stand up to Bush style Republican Scott Garrett.  Abate has never backed down from a challenge and when Scott Garrett tries to avoid debate, Camille Abate won’t take no for an answer.

Engaging your supporters through technology

I’m a big fan of campaigns embracing new technologies to help perform traditional campaign functions. In today’s campaign world, it’s about more than just putting up a website.   A contest for an ad is nothing new, but getting notified of a blogad contest by email through the Adler campaign’s facebook group is certainly a concept that can be successfully replicated…

Do you ever see ads on websites, and think that you would do a better job at designing them? If so, enter the contest to design the first BlogAd for the Adler for Congress team!

To me, this is a great idea.  As a campaign, you engage your supporters, support the netroots and encourage people to focus on how they can better elect the candidate to office without making the reader suffer through a press release to do it.  It doesn’t just have to be this idea with this platform. Campaigns can capitalize on other social networking platforms to reinforce the general campaign message in front of a different potential audience.  

It’s important to note that while technology will not replace traditional campaign tactics such as door knocking and phone calls, it certainly can assist and enhance those efforts.  Technology can amplify the campaigns message across many mediums before numerous audiences.  It’s another tool at your disposal to help get the job done.

In the recent diaries, you can see a video blog diary by candidate Tom Wyka utilizing the youtube platform so that people who are lazy like me and don’t want to read a complete message all of the time can click play to watch a video of him giving a clear explanation of money in politics.

The Stender for Congress campaign has a facebook group.

The Andrews for senate campaign has capitalized on the skills of Jay Lassiter and a handy dandy youtube account to incorporate videoblogging giving us a behind the scenes look at a campaign for Senate along with having a facebook group.  I’ve gotten emails about their latest videos and last week I got a message through the facebook group inviting supporters to the filming of a TV commercial.  The Lautenberg re-election campaign also utilizes a facebook page allowing people to join and show their support.

The Shulman and Abate campaigns in NJ-5 are utilizing their You Tube accounts to post ads.  Shulman went on the air with his 1st TV ad which is also loaded on their Youtube page and the Abate campaign was able to post an ad from their Youtube page in the same thread.

Many candidates have attempted to engage the netroots through posts here on BlueJersey and other national blogs.  We thank them for that and encourage them to come back frequently to continue the conversation.  BlueJersey is also engaging people with technology, so feel free to follow us on Twittter and join our myspace or facebook groups.

I hope more campaigns will follow the lead of these candidates and Blue Jersey by continuing to engage technology as a tool to help enhance the great work they are already doing.    

Get to know the Abate campaign

This is the first in a series of posts to introduce readers to the various congressional campaigns in the state. We’re asking the campaign managers to tell us about themselves and their candidate. First up is J Courey, the campaign manager for Camille Abate, who is running in the Democratic primary for the chance to challenge Rep Scott Garrett in the 5th congressional district.

Briefly, what prior campaign or other political experience do you bring to this race?

I’ve built a record of winning for progressive Democrats in leaning Republican districts.  Always working in red districts, I left a comfortable career in accounting determined to make real change by removing another Republican extremist from power every year.  Working for Gov. Tim Kain last year, I was part of the team that took on strong Republican incumbents and successfully flipped the balance of power in the Virginia State Senate.  I bring to New Jersey’s 5th Congressional district a unique understanding of how to effectively energize Democrats while swaying independents and even Republicans through a practical economic message of getting the job done for middle class voters who are tired of being squeezed by the partisan policies of elitist Republican rule.

What’s the least healthy meal you’ve ever had on the campaign trail?

Cold pizza for breakfast is a staple of campaign life.  There’s never enough time to cook so I usually find a volunteer who doesn’t like to knock doors, phone bank or stuff envelops, but knows how to cook, and make that person the official campaign chef.  Well fed campaigns win!

Make the jump for the rest…