Tag Archive: John Girgenti

Must See Hawthorne Public Access TV

This ad should be running every half hour on the half hour between now and Election Day.

John:  Hello, I am John Girgenti and I am a conservative bigot.

Jeff:  Hi, I’m Jeff Gardner and I’m a progressive activist.

Together:  We were sworn enemies two years ago, but we are united now in support of Bill Pascrell.

John:  So if you are a bigot…

Together:  …OR…

Jeff:  …you hate them…

Together:  …Vote for Bill!

John:  Because at some point in his career, you probably have agreed with him…

Jeff:  …And at some point going forward, you probably will again.

Together:  Bill Pascrell makes everybody happy, because he stands for nothing…

John:  …Except accumulating power for himself, his cronies like me,…

Jeff:  …and his sons, who wouldn’t have lobbying careers if it weren’t for him, the power that he wields as the de facto boss of Passaic County, and his willingness to sell his vote to the highest bidder.

Together:  Vote for Bill!

John:  Or don’t vote at all.

Jeff:  The end result is the same.


Valesky on Marriage Equality

Dave Valesky

Over two decades ago, I did some volunteer work for a non-profit organization in Syracuse, New York. One of the executives at that organization was a young man named Dave Valesky. I remember his genuine appreciation toward me and other volunteers for putting in time to help there. His attitude toward his volunteers made working there fun and rewarding. 

After I moved to New Jersey, I was pleased to learn that in 2004, Valesky was elected to the New York State Senate to represent the people of Central New York as a Democrat. 

I was even more pleased to read this Catholic senator from a conservative district has been a supporter of marriage equality, leading to full marriage rights in the Empire State. 

So even though the parameters of the marriage equality battle may be different in New Jersey, I reached out to Valesky to learn about his decision to vote for equality and how it might help the upcoming debate here. He was gracious enough to spend some time with me on a telephone interview.

Girgenti not running

News of a few minutes ago, via politicker, John Girgenti will not pursue re-election.

Girgenti has had a year-plus of hard blows. His statement on the Senate floor on December 7, 2009 sent shockwaves through the thousands of marriage equality supporters who filled every room in the State House, and its annex, and immediately vaulted him to the top of a priority list to challenge and replace.

Bergen Record columnist Charles Stile called Blue Jersey’s own Jeff Gardner, a bona fide giant slayer for doing just that, when Jeff’s opening volley was to challenge Girgenti for control of the Hawthorne Democrats, which the senator led for a long time as Municipal Chair. That party contest showed mastery of grassroots organizing on the part of Jeff, and his team, many of whom are also regular participants in the Blue Jersey community.

Jeff’s party victory in the hometown he and Girgenti share was a wound to the long-time senator and Passaic County Democratic powerhouse. And it showed  considerable progressive muscle.

Before redistricting redrew New Jersey, Jeff anticipated his next contest – the big game – would be a matchup against Girgenti for their district’s Senate seat. Redistricting changed all that. Jeff, proclaimed a redistricting “Winner” in Stile’s column this morning, is now a candidate for Assembly in the new LD-38. (Have you been to Jeff’s new facebook page?)

Girgenti’s, redistricted away from the town he was born in – Paterson – and the fact that the state Attorney General is investigating his ties to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners were two of the last blows.

Girgenti has served in the Senate for 21 years. His history is long and distinguished. Perhaps some of his constituents here would like to weigh in.  

Girgenti looking for houses in Paterson?

Edit: A federal district court found in 2001 that New Jersey’s legislative district residency requirement violated the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, so much of what’s in this diary is incorrect. Girgenti can move to Paterson to run in the 35th district if he wants. Whether he is serious or merely bluffing about moving is another matter entirely. If he does “move” to Paterson before he submits his petition (on which he certify that he is a resident of the district in which he is running), someone should check to make sure the address submitted actually exists and that Girgenti is actually residing there. I leave the original diary below the fold.

A Great Big Thank You!

High-fives, Jeff – Rosi

I’m nearly speechless. Thank you to Rosi, Jay, and most importantly the entire Blue Jersey community for helping to make my campaign’s money bomb an incredible success yesterday.

Together with Democracy for America and BlueAmericaPAC, we raised well over $10,000 from nearly 500 contributors – all online, all in one day. Amazing! And it brings our online fundraising across ActBlue to nearly $15,000 from over 500 individuals. And we’re just getting started! I hope you’ll join my facebook campaign page, and stay engaged as the campaign moves forward.

As the candidate, of course, I am very grateful for the support. Every campaign needs money, and yesterday was a real boost. But, as a member of the progressive community here in New Jersey, more than anything, I am proud. Proud of the strength of the community we have built and continue to build. As I’ve said over and over, this is a people’s campaign, and yesterday’s success was your success.

Thank you all so much!


This is what people-powered looks like

I have a hunch we’ll hear from Jeff later. Meanwhile, big thanks from Blue Jersey to everybody who gave in yesterday’s money bomb! – Rosi

Big hat tip to the Blue Jersey community, Blue America PAC, and Democracy for America for making the money bomb a huge success. – Matt

Honestly, when we had our initial conference call on the money bomb idea – Rosi, Jay, a DFA national staffer, and myself – we all thought somewhere between $1,000 on the low end and$5,000 on the high end would be a successful for a one day haul.  This just has never really been done in a state legislative race, so we just weren’t sure what to expect.

435 donors and $10,728 raised was double our best case scenario.  If the establishment wasn’t listening before, they are now.  more below…

Money Bomb still ticking and ticking

w00t! – promoted by a fist-pumping Rosi

Wow! When we decided to try this money bomb thing, I confess, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would go. But, I guess there’s something about a primary campaign against a 30-year incumbent that gets the juices flowing, because it has been sensational. Maybe we should do this more often!

Are you ready for this update? As of 6:00pm (with six more hours to go!), here’s the numbers from today:

The Money Bomb ActBlue page: $3,238 from 82 supporters.


DFA’s ActBlue page: $3,176 from 159 supporters.


(Blue) Jersey Jeff Gardner for Senate, money bomb page: $1,165 – 38 supporters.

That’s just from today!

Add in BlueAmerica’s ActBlue page: from yesterday and today ($1,139 from 57 supporters), and some earlier online giving, and you’re looking at:

$11,843 from 385 contributors total, with over $7,000 just today.

Please keep it going. Every dollar counts. Thank you!! 🙂


#ticktickBOOM: Jeff Gardner for Senate Money Bomb UPDATE: $2,713-plus at 3:35

As you know by now, Blue Jersey’s part of a national money bomb for Jeff Gardner’s Senate primary campaign against 30-year incumbent John Girgenti. It’s been a 10-day lead-up. And it all happens today – ticktickBOOM. Money bomb is a concentrated effort to ramp up focus & fundraising for a priority campaign, in a one-day burst. Today. This is Jeff’s first money bomb, and Blue Jersey’s. And it’s trending hot. Can you join us?

THANK YOU to everybody who’s already contributed. Every amount powers up Jeff’s campaign, and gets us closer to having a fine and tough progressive working for his District and for all of us. So, at around 3:20pm, with hours left to go, here’s an update:

Jeff’s Money Bomb ActBlue: $2,713 from 76 supporters.


DFA’s ActBlue: $851 from 30 supporters.

BlueAmerica’s ActBlue: $1,124 from 55 supporters.

(Blue) Jersey Jeff Gardner for Senate, money bomb: $1,149 – 36 supporters.

None of us has ever done this before, and we didn’t know what to expect. Your response is off-the-charts. We breezed past our $1,000 initial goal early this morning, and we’re now pushing toward a goal of $5,000 or more today. And the buzz is ramping up. Jeff just finished his 2nd live-chat of the week at BlueAmerica’s page at Crooks & Liars. And today, there were two posts about Jeff on the Recommended list at Daily Kos.

Jeff’s Money Bomb is today. Every dollar counts. Can you jump in?

There is no tilting at windmills here. This is a viable campaign, with real progressive vigor behind it. Blue Jersey, you’re a huge part of this.


A People-Powered Campaign

Happily promoted by Rosi

Well, today is the day. I am asking all of my friends and supporters looking to change Trenton to head to my Act Blue page and make a donation to support my campaign.

JeffGardner_headshotThe idea behind a money bomb is simple: it’s a term used to describe a grassroots fundraising effort over a brief, fixed time period – usually to support a candidate for election by dramatically increasing, concentrating, and publicizing fundraising activity during a specific hour or day. In my case, the time is now, the day is here, and the link is this: Jeff Gardner Money Bomb

This money bomb is about showing the strength of the progressive netroots, and the stark difference between Senator Girgenti’s campaign and mine. We’re a people powered campaign.

I’m raising money from normal, everyday people looking for better representation in Trenton. My opponent is raising money from special interests and lobbyists looking for something in return. We need leaders fighting for the people in the State Senate, not just the politically connected.  more below

Update on Jeff’s Gardner’s Senate campaign

An earlier version of this post had the wrong date for DFA Chair Jim Dean’s arrival – it’s tomorrow (Wed), not Thursday.

Hey, Blue Jerseyans, I just wanted to give you all a brief update on Jeff Gardner’s white-hot and grassrootsy campaign for Senate.

JeffGardner_headshotA little background: Right now, of course, this is a primary campaign; Jeff is running against the 30-plus year incumbent John Girgenti. The legislative district, as it now stands, is LD-35. We don’t know yet how redistricting will shake out for Paterson and the surrounding areas that now make up the district (Jeff testified last month). But as it happens, Jeff and Girgenti live in the same town: Hawthorne. Jeff was once an active volunteer for Girgenti, who was both state Senator and Hawthorne’s Democratic municipal chair. But last June, Jeff challenged Girgenti for that chair. And Jeff’s win was a huge upset for the powerful Girgenti, a slam-dunk grassroots victory for Hawthorne Dems, and the real start of the changes yet to come.

Jeff’s national DFA endorsement: Jeff’s been a statewide leader for Democracy for America-NJ (DFA-NJ) since its start. I’m totally bragging on my friend to say it’s been my privilege to work alongside him there since Howard Dean started DFA 7 years ago. Jeff’s success is now a huge national priority for DFA. And tomorrow, DFA Chair Jim Dean (yes, Howard’s brother) will be at Jeff’s campaign office for a press conference at 2:30pm, and after a big canvass goes out for Jeff, will headline a fundraiser for Jeff. (Jeff’s campaign HQ)

Fantastic post about Jeff in Down With Tyranny: If you don’t know Jeff or his history, Howie Klein’s very supportive words are a great intro. And he gave Jeff the opportunity to post at his national-readership site. If you already know Jeff, it’s all just a great read.

Jeff Gardner has a question for Chris Christie: Why did the governor head to Little Falls and Wayne to tour flood-ravaged areas, and skip over Paterson, one of Jersey’s largest cities?

Raising money for Jeff: John Girgenti’s had 30 years to build up a war chest. Jeff’s campaign is built on grass/netroots organizing. Read up on Jeff, now a district, state and even national progressive priority. Send a message to Trenton that you want real Democrats in the State House. Back Jeff with some money – any amount you can give matters. And I’ll make it easy: we’re 2 days away from Jeff’s Money Bomb Day – Thursday. (RSVP for Jeff’s Money Bomb here).