I’ve been sitting on an email I received this weekend because I haven’t known quite what to make of it. The email gleefully announces what appears to be good news for the Dennis Shulman for Congress campaign:
The Shulman campaign is proud to announce that it has received the endorsement of the Passaic County Democratic Organization.
“The endorsement of the Passaic County Democrats is another sign that people across Northern New Jersey are responding to our message of change,” said Shulman.
There’s only one problem. There was no vote.
I know, because I’m a Passaic County Committeeman, and I attended the most recent of our extremely rare County Committee meetings on Thursday, March 27th, where neither of the 5th congressional candidates were in attendance, no one from either campaign appeared to speak, and no endorsement vote took place.
Apart from a call to say “aye” to all in favor of the new Freeholder candidate that the “screening committee” (aka “the Executive Committee”) had chosen for us, there were no other endorsement discussions – not in the U.S. Senate race, and not in any of the four Congressional races – at least two of them contested – with a piece of Passaic County in them. So, there was no occasion for “people across Northern New Jersey” to respond to anyone’s message of change.
Now, with the Senate race the talk of the state – especially the respective “county support” that Lautenberg and Andrews are relying on, and what it means – it seems like a really great time for us to understand what constitutes “county support.”
In Passaic County, county support means a decision made away from the eyes of the County Committee by an Executive Committee made up of Municipal Leaders (with weighted voting), the County Chair (who gets extra votes), and rumor has it, the Pascrell family (no one seems to know why). That sounds like democracy, right?
This diary is not intended to attack the Shulman campaign’s nabbing the so-called “endorsement of the Passaic County Democratic Organization.” The campaign went after, and apparently won, the only “endorsement” available to it. I only mean to question the meaning of a term that’s getting thrown around a lot right now – county support.
What does it mean to have earned “county support” where you live?