Tag Archive: Tod Theise

The disaster in the fifth

Two years ago, I drafted a post (edited by the good members of Blue Jersey) with a rundown of what happened in the 2008 Congressional election in New Jersey’s fifth district.  We deconstructed the voting trends in each of the four counties, discussed how outreach and messaging (and money), as well as a different strategy, are needed to (1) win Bergen County, where most of the votes are and (2) close the gap in Passaic, Warren and Sussex Counties:

But this is a low information district with an inherent Republican advantage, where a large majority of people never hear a stump speech or listen to debates.  And that is especially true in the rural areas that count for roughly one-third of the votes.  So it’s clear that very heavy handed, yet accurate, tactics must be used – and used consistently in a way that will not only reach these voters, but close the gap in Sussex and Warren Counties by 1/3 to 1/2 of the roughly 25,000 deficits of 2008 and 2004.

Now, I will admit this post may be a bit more subjective. But that’s because since 2008 (and out of that diary), I helped start “Retire Garrett”, a grassroots effort with outreach in all four counties to help recruit a candidate, solicit donors, craft message, coordinate outreach, and try to tackle the very tough feat of ousting Garrett in a fairly Republican leaning district.  I (with other volunteers) figured this would be a 2 cycle effort, but worth pursuing.

Who Will You Be Voting for in November?

Cross-posted from RetireGarrrett.com

It’s still early, but if you have literally 10 seconds available, please give us an indication of who you will be voting for this November. This isn’t a Quinnipiac or Gallup poll, but it will produce a fairly accurate and unbiased result and may help us get an idea of Scott Garrett’s vulnerability. Please send the poll to friends, family members, and others interested in the NJ-5 race. Thanks for participating!

Vote Here

Scott Garrett will not run unopposed

As I’ve written in the recent past, the BCDO has been hesitant (to say the least) in endorsing anyone to run for Congress against radical right winger Scott Garrett.  And it wasn’t too long ago that State Senator Paul Sarlo said that it was time for a change – to let a candidate from Warren or Sussex County emerge to take on Garrett.

That time is now, as Warren County resident Tod Theise has answered the call and announced his candidacy against Garrett.  In his statement to the press, Thiese noted the following contrast between him and Garrett:

“I don’t think he represents working families in the district,” Theise said. “He voted against extending unemployment benefits … he voted for every [George W.] Bush budget.”

A former Republican, Theise became an independent in the early part of the last decade and then migrated to the Democratic Party. He said his reasons for the leaving the Republicans were the spending policies and lack of Wall Street regulation under Bush.

His criticisms of Garrett are similar.

“What I find lacking is that he gives the people on Wall Street a complete and utter pass,” Theise said. “He is basically bought and sold by Wall Street.”

Now, I’ve met Tod and spoken to him numerous times over the past few months as he has been moving towards a run at Garrett.  There are a few things about this candidacy that I like personally – for starters, it will be interesting to see how a non-Bergen County challenger plays out – especially in the current climate where being associated with the BCDO isn’t the best of associations right around now.  Additionally, I’ve always thought that lowering the 60%+ of the vote that Garrett routinely gets in Warren and Sussex counties is imperative – that this race cannot be won in Bergen alone.  I also like the views and approach that Tod is taking on a number of issues – but this will come out over the next few months as the campaign gets under way.  

Of course, this is one of the most uphill battles in general, as Garrett has never gotten less than 55% of the vote in his 4 previous races.  But you never know what can happen in an election, and there has been unprecedented focus on Garrett by a number of grassroots organizations in the District (ahem….).

Garrett himself didn’t have any comments on Theise’s candidacy, but “FakeGarrettNJ5” on Twitter had the following to say:

A challenger? I will crush him like I crush the souls of hardworking struggling families in the District.