Tag Archive: nj-5

Maybe Garrett can get Palin’s Witch Doctor to help….

Matt Fretz at Blog The Fifth points out another gem from Scott “the nut” Garrett:

Finally, she made a good point as well, and I will close on this, market, heal thyself, is what she said. Likewise here, whether it’s the credit market, the financial market or the unemployment market, we can allow the private sector, with the assist of the government getting out of the way for the market to heal thyself in those situations as well in the appropriate manner.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Garrett is that he is a “budget hawk” or a “deficit hawk” – however he has consistently voted for countless hundreds of billions going to a sinkhole in Iraq with no oversight whatsoever, making him at least a hypocrite, if not an irresponsible hypocrite.

And when it comes to the bailout, or even the stimulus package of 2008, I do agree with him on the most basic premise, which is that the bills put forth by Congress were not ones that I would have voted for.  But my preference would not be tax rebates that would be handed right over to the credit card, gas or retail companies (which I said at the time wouldn’t do anything meaningful for families), and I don’t think that financial institutions, auto companies or other big businesses should get billions of dollars with no oversight.  Money that directly helps families over the short, medium and long term with their bills or to stay in their homes – not corporate tax cuts – is really what Americans need.

With Garrett, it is more a case of a broken clock being right twice a day, and you still don’t want to rely on it.  His preference (and a bill he put forth himself) for a stimulus package was 100% corporate tax cuts.  And here too, Garrett shows that he prefers the same “free market forces” and deregulation that got our economy into this mess to magically fix itself.

This type of blind ideology is exactly what we do NOT need now – and prayers, magic pixie dust, burying our heads in the sand, flying spaghetti monsters, more deregulation and corporate tax breaks will only make things worse.

The problem here is that Garrett is held up as some sort of “hero” for speaking out against what may not be a great idea when anyone that looks even a centimeter below the surface will see that it is for all the wrong reasons.

Even members of his own party think he is a nut.  And he consistently proves them right with statements like the one above and a complete misunderstanding of the most basic problems facing families in the District.

Two evils

When faced with the choice of someone in your own party who you agree with on the issues but is surrounded by a cloud of ethical issues or someone who isn’t necessarily surrounded by ethical issues but you don’t agree with on the issues, what choice do you make?

Unless the BCDO leadership gets its act together and figures out a way to remove Joe Ferriero (without replacing him with one of his ardent supporters), that is the choice that most Bergen Democrats will face in 2009 and 2010.

Does the BCDO leadership even see this?  Do they even care?  In a county that has been trending blue over the past few years, will it take an electoral ass kicking in order for the organization to see that the republican model of protecting corruption – or even protecting the cloud of potential corruption – is a political death sentence?

When the leading vote getting Bergen Freeholder saw a 20% dropoff in support from Obama, that is a sign of trouble.  When a Congressional campaign that had more money and more exposure then years past and an incumbent whose support was declining actually LOST ground in Bergen, is that not a sign that maybe, just maybe the BCDO corruption and investigations had something to do with it?

It is no secret that the BCDO gave little to no support (and maybe negative support) to the last 2 Democratic Congressional candidates.  Does this mean that a Bergen Democrat can’t run for Congress in 2010 (even with no material support from the BCDO), since there would be, at a minimum, a “guilt by association” anchor around his or her neck?  And if there is a Bergen County candidate for Congress, would the smart move of distancing him/herself majorly from an organization that has a cloud of corruption surrounding itself be feasible in a district wide election?

Or would the best thing long term be a complete ass kicking in the upcoming elections and a Congressional candidate from Sussex or Warren County?

Both are filled with potential dangers – the gains made in Bergen can be lost for years (and who knows where Bergen will end up in a redistricting).

Either way, the BCDO is playing with fire, and most certainly will get burned one way or another.  The only saving grace is to force Ferriero out (and there certainly doesn’t seem to be the will for that) or the likelihood of an electoral embarrassment may be staring at Bergen County Democrats over the next few years.

Take Back the Fifth: Building a Grassroots Movement for 2010

Promoted from the diaries – Thurman

Unseating Scott Garrett in 2010 will take a strong grassroots movement, with organization in every county, municipal, and legislative race from now until November 2010.  

Take Back the Fifth hopes to play a major role in achieving that goal and creating that organization.  

Take Back the Fifth will serve as a medium to organize Democrats, Independents, and Moderate Republicans in the district and expose Scott Garrett for his extremist views.  In 2009 their are scores of local, county, and legislative races inside NJ-5 that can serve as a training ground for volunteers and a strong Democratic message.  In order to compete in 2010 with Garrett we need to compete everywhere.  Simply going negative on Scott Garrett’s record is not enough.  A strong Democratic message that will resonate with voters needs to be developed.

We need to give voters a reason to vote for the Democrat and not a reason to vote against Scott Garrett.    

Scott Garrett cannot get a free ride for his dismal record.    

Our main goal is to bring voices from throughout the district together and promote the local issues that Scott Garrett has been unresponsive to since he entered the House of Representatives.    

We want to foster conversations about potential candidates and make elected officials inside NJ-5 engaged and involved.  Eventually we hope to begin raising money for the 2010 Democratic nominee and building an expansive volunteer list for the nominee to inherit.  

Additionally, we need help from everyone and anyone, especially if you live inside NJ-5.  We want as many writers from as many parts of the district to contribute so that a real grassroots movement can emerge.  

We are still fine tuning the blog and working out the kinks, but for the most part it is up in running.  If you have any suggestions or want to contribute please e-mail me at matthewpjordan@gmail.com.    

This is the first of many steps to unseating Scott Garrett in 2010.  

Note to BCDO, please get your act together. Quickly.

Paul Aronsohn makes a very good point:

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY in Bergen County is in crisis. Hampered by debts and indictments, the party organization is running rudderless and running scared. With some key elections on the horizon, the party is trying to repair itself – in a hurry.

Not surprisingly, the race for the chairmanship has therefore begun in earnest – even among the current chairman’s fiercest supporters. Everyone involved seems to agree: It is time to move on.

Unfortunately, however, the race has focused on only one qualification: fund-raising ability. Potential candidates quietly – and not so quietly – vying for the position are talking about their ability to raise money. After all, many people attribute the electoral success of the organization to its fund-raising prowess.

This concerns me, and it should concern all other members of our party.

Despite an ever growing number of people dissatisfied with the job that Scott Garrett – someone that even the extreme right wing of the republican party refers to as “a nut” – there was too much “me first” focus from the BCDO and next to nothing(which that is being generous) on a Congressional race that should have been a lot closer than it was.  There are many people to point fingers at.  There is much that can be “Monday Morning Quarterbacked” as to how or why Garrett was able to reverse the trend of decreasing margins of victory.

While NJ-5 is a district that essentially has three very different areas, three pretty different sets of priorities and three different demographic makeups – none of which is overly favorable to Democrats, Bergen County makes up around 60% of the overall districtwide voters and obviously has a significant impact on the election results.  And the BCDO has the ability to be a leading group in the promotion of and supporting of winning Democrats at all levels – not just local and not just statewide.

From what I’ve been able to gather, there was a tremendous lack of financial or other support for the Congressional candidate in both 2006 and 2008.  And for an organization that has been so successful at raising money, it is baffling that it wouldn’t be thinking of “issues” as much as enriching those who are on the inside – as we have now seen with the numerous investigations and indictments (with more investigations to come).  To not see the crumbling edifice that hides the underlying problems is not much different than someone like Ted Stevens or Larry Craig or Tom DeLay still try to hold onto power and hold back their party for turning the page.

If the BCDO would get behind a candidate that “gets it”, if they were to elect a leader that “gets it” – someone who sees the big picture of what this potentially powerful organization can do to not only get more Democrats elected locally, statewide and Federally, but also to advance an agenda that is both good for them and just as (if not more) importantly those who support them, it is a win-win situation.

If it goes in the same direction and becomes a “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” situation, all Bergen County Democrats are hurt by this.  The same corrupt me-first philosophy continues, the County doesn’t turn the page, nobody sees the big picture and the constituents lose.

And Scott Garrett is one big winner.

I’ll go back to the article that Paul wrote, because his conclusion is precisely what is needed (and he says it better than I can):

Again, money is important. It allows the party to promote its ideas, communicate its message and generate enthusiasm among a sometimes dispirited citizenry. But money is no substitute for good policy, good candidates and a good standing in our community. And fund raising is no substitute for good leadership.

Picking a new chairman provides the Bergen Democratic Party with both an opportunity and an obligation – an opportunity to renew its commitment to core Democratic principles (community, responsibility and opportunity) and an obligation to get it right.

One Council Seat at a Time in NJ-5

Electoral victories on the local level are the key to electing Democratic officials to higher offices.  It creates a crop of candidates with elected experience to recruit from and strengthens the influence and organization of local parties.  A key to winning in Republican held districts is to target Council and Mayoral seats on the local level and turn them Democratic.  

That is why the news out of Wyckoff is exciting and encouraging for Democrats in NJ-5.  

Voters have chosen a Democrat for the Township Committee for the first time in 75 years, township Clerk Joyce Santimauro said Tuesday.

Republican incumbent David Connolly garnered the most votes, 4,666, in the four-person election and claimed the first open slot on the committee.

Democrat Brian Scanlan won the other seat with 4,505 votes, followed by Republican Kathleen Scarpelli, with 4,481, and Democrat Brian Hubert, who received 4,401 votes, Santimauro said.

This proves that any town can be won in NJ-5, and across the state, as long as a strong message is applied.  Furthermore, it states how important local issues are to people, and if we can adapt this theme to the Congressional level, then a message is more likely to resonate with voters.    

Mayor Jim Sekelsky: The Candidate NJ-5 Democrats Need

cross posted on Daily Kos

Since election day their has been a lot of debate about what happen in NJ-5, why their was no progress from 2006, and how Democrats should move forward in the run up to 2010.  What I’ve observed throughout the discourse that has taken place is that their is a lot of talk about who’s to blame for the regression instead of what we need to do to turn things around.

We need to learn from the mistakes of the last few election cycles and come up with fresh ideas on how we can remedy them.  NJ-5 can be we won, we just need to find a formula of the right issues, organization, and fund raising to make that happen.  Most Importantly we need a candidate that can relate to voters from Phillipsburg to Upper Saddle River.

That Democrat and candidate is Mayor Jim Sekelsky of Ogdensburg.  


“Better Know a (Legislative) District”

Promoted by Jason Springer:  Feel free to tell us about your Legislative District.

New Jersey, the state that constantly has an election looming, will be voting in 2009 for all 80 members of the General Assembly and the Governor’s office.  These races, along with municipal and county elections are all important in building party infrastructure and developing candidates for higher office.  Recruiting viable Assembly candidates, especially in districts that do not lean Democratic is difficult.  

My hometown of Wanaque is part of the 40th Legislative District, represented by Senator Kevin O’Toole and Assemblymen Scott Rumana and Dave Russo.  O’Toole is a moderate Republican from Cedar Grove ,who, fortunately is not on the ballot in 2009, because his presence at the top of the ticket would surely provide a bounce for the down ticket Assembly and local candidates.    

The 40th consists of parts of Essex, Bergen, and Passaic Counties and has a Republican tilt.  This is not a district a Democrat issupposed to win, but is definitely somewhere a Democrat can win if he/she has the right formula of name identification and fund raising ability.  

My Thoughts: Twelve Days Later

This was a remarkable year.

A year that was peopled by thousands.

A year that found me:

In countless county and neighborhood fairs;

In Capitol Hill offices and parties;

At high school football games;

Marching in parades on Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Halloween, surrounded by enthusiastic supporters and some not-so-well-wishers;

On the pages of the New York Times and the New Yorker, on Blue Jersey, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Kos;

In campaign caravans rushing from Alpine to Phillipsburg;

In a union hall speaking to a hundred or so sheet metal apprentices, after investing five years of their life mastering their trade, unsure now if there will be work when they graduate;

In spacious living rooms, sipping champagne and munching hors d’oeuvres with governors and senators;

In Ringwood, touring a desolate track of land poisoned by Ford, surrounded by the Ramapo Mountain Indians who were this land’s owners, its victims, its defenders.

This was truly a remarkable year.

And what I heard wherever I traveled this year was that people, whether affluent or impoverished, young or the retired, Republican or Democrat, were worried — worried about their children, worried about their future, worried about our country.

Political campaigns these days have a way, too often, of getting lost in the contest between the two individuals vying for the seat. They become something closer to a food fight than a comparison of ideas and issues and alternative visions for America’

s future. They become a competition about “Gotcha,” and in the process the more personal accusations drown out the political differences that really do matter. There are many reasons why this happens in this political climate, many reasons why this happened in the congressional race between Scott Garrett and myself, but that analysis is for another time and another place.

This race for the United States House of Representatives in NJ-5 should not have been about Scott Garrett or Dennis Shulman. It should have been about the contrasting political ideology and moral vision of the opponents. It should have been about the future of America. It should have been about the soul of our country and of our district.

It should have been about global warming and alternatives to oil and gas — whether we should support increases in fuel efficiency and investment in wind, solar, and bio fuels.

It should have been about stem cell research — whether we should provide the scientific community an incentive and the freedom to do the research here in the United States that could offer hope and cure for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injuries.

It should have been about taxes — whether any representative who voted for a war that is costing us ten billion dollars a month, who voted against the Alternative Minimum Tax every time it came to the House floor, and voted for every one of the Bush budgets could honestly claim to be a fiscal conservative and a tax cutter.

It should have been about healthcare  for children — whether there was any moral justification for a congressman or congresswoman who makes more than 165 thousand dollars a year accepting a premium healthcare plan paid fully by federal funds for his or her family, but votes to deny healthcare to a family of four who makes twenty-five thousand dollars a year living in Dumont or Cresskill or Newton.

It should have been about reproductive choice — whether the people in this district agree with the incumbent that abortions should be illegal even when the pregnant woman was a victim of rape or of incest.

It should have been about our sacred responsibility to our young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan — whether we should support any congressman or congresswoman who would vote against medical benefits and other needed services for our disabled vets, and against tuition and housing benefits for those who returned to us able bodied.

Instead, sadly, incredibly, ridiculously, our election was about whether I was patriotic enough or in league with terrorists, and whether Scott Garrett had a farm or just a tax dodge.

Would the results on November 4th have been different if this election were about the comparative moral vision and political sensibilities of the candidates? I don’t know.

But what I do know from this extraordinary year of my life is that everyone I met, irrespective of where they lived in the district and where they sat on the political spectrum, believed that the past eight years have been disastrous years — that these have been years when our great and beloved nation has lost its way, and that we, as a nation, are certainly better than this.

Although I will not be taking a seat in Congress in January, I am hopeful about our country. I am hopeful that, with a new president and with Scott Garrett’s positions becoming even more marginalized in the House, that our country will again find its way.

To all, in this past year, whom I have touched, and who have touched me:

Thank you.

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.      

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.