Dennis Shulman has done everything a Democratic running in NJ-5 thus far needs to do to make the race credible and put himself in a position to upset Scott Garrett on election day. His fund raising has been superb and seems to be picking up speed, his campaign and biography have created a ton of free media, and he has created a sense of excitement with Democrats in New Jersey that feel this seat could be in play.
The unfortunate face for the Shulman campaign is that they start in a 11% hole and need to find pockets of voters throughout the district to make up a nearly 23,000 vote deficit from the last campaign cycle. Is this doable? Absolutely; however, every potential Democratic vote needs to be identified and mobilized come election day. Although only four municipalities are in NJ-5 (West Milford, Ringwood, Wanaque, and part of Bloomingdale) their are several thousand potential votes that can help Shulman make up that 23,000 vote deficit in Passaic County. As the Herald News notes: http://myheraldnews.com/view.h…
In Passaic County, Democrats have outpaced Republicans in registering voters since the Feb. 5 primary, scooping up nearly 28,500 new members, a jump of more than 54 percent…
Obviously all of these newly registered voters are not in the four towns inside NJ-5, but it shows two things: a) the positive affect the competitive presidential primary has for New Jersey Democrats in registering new voters in February, and b) their are potential pools of voters in these 4 towns that need to be mobilized. Passaic County can be a winning ingredient in this district and a key ingredient of a formula that will offset Garrett’s strong advantages in Warren and Sussex Counties.
In Wanaque the Democratic party has had somewhat of a resurgence, electing its first Democratic member to the town council in the most recent municipal elections and both of their primary candidates for council in 2008 (http://www.wanaquedemocrats.com/candidates.htm) outpaced their Republican counterparts. Additionally, a recent 55-and over development in Wanaque has swelled its population and is an untapped pool of potential Democratic voters. In West Milford Freeholder Terry Duffy has a strong political base that could play a major role in registering new voters and coordinating GOTV efforts on election day.
These are the vote floor vote totals the Shulman campaign are building off of from 2006:
In viewing these vote totals one thing becomes evident, shifting moderate voters in Bergen County to Shulman’s camp has to be one leg of a winning formula. Just winning a majority of voters in Bergen County does not equal a victory. Democratic candidates and elected officials in these four Passaic County towns need to coordinate with the Shulman campaign in order to maximize vote totals and help Shulman cut into that nearly 23,000 vote deficit. If winning a majority in Bergen County is step one for Shulman, increasing the vote totals in Passaic County needs to be step two.