Election Day provided a little something for everyone, so let’s just dive in!
In 2008, NJ’s 3rd Congressional battle pitted John Adler, the liberal state senator from Cherry Hill against Chris Myers the GOP mayor of Medford. The race was a top priority for NJ’s LGBT community because Adler (RIP) was perhaps Trenton’s most pro-equality stalwart.
For the final weeks leading up to Election Day, Garden State Equality turned over its entire staff to the campaign. Their contributions were so generous, we needed extra help on the compliance end!
Adler won in a squeaker.
In 2009, Jon Corzine was the first gubernatorial candidate in American history to proudly promise marriage equality out on the campaign trail. Garden State Equality supported him vigorously. For example: GSE fielded so many volunteers for GOTV in Burlington County, that the GSE crew actually had their own dedicated field operative. It’s been a minute but I’m remembering 30-40 GSE volunteers every day for a month.
And that’s just one county.
This year, in 2019, Jonathan Petro came within 300 votes of becoming mayor of Toms River, NJ’s 8th largest town. Mr Petro, who’s gay, was tantalizingly close to scoring a major upset in a conservative town in very conservative Ocean County, home to one of the biggest homophobes in New Jersey history. What did Garden State do to help Petro and other LGBT candidates this year?
Nothing. They sent out a few Tweets.
And that was pretty much the extent of this year’s Election Day commitment from NJ’s loudest LGBTQ rights organization.
GSE has some interesting stuff on their plate including innovative work building bridges between LGBTQs and law enforcement. But for the time being, Garden State Equality, erstwhile Election Day powerhouse, has lost the appetite for campaigning altogether.
They even mothballed their PAC!
So when GSE says things like “representation matters” but does nothing to elect more LGBT people, it might just be more platitudes.
Burlington County’s 8th legislative district was among the most hyped, most competitive, most expensive races of this year’s cycle. Incumbent Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and running mate Jean Stanfield of Westampton out-hustled and barely outmuscled their Democratic rivals to claim victory in a county that’s steadily drifting from red to purple to blue.
His his part, Peters was ready to introduce his running mate to Trenton.
“Assemblywoman-elect Jean Stanfield is going to be a force in Trenton, mark my words,” Peters told InsiderNJ. “She is going to be an incredible asset to the caucus and to the residents in the 8th District.”
The Trenton legislature is 30.8% female and Stanfield’s victory kept that number from slipping.
“The Democratic Party talks a lot about female empowerment but when both parties had a choice of candidates, the Burlington County GOP replaced a man with a woman on the ticket while the Camden democrats replaced Pat Egan Jones with a man.”
It’s an honest critique. Look at the math.
“Where I come from, your actions should match your words,” Peters said. “But I grew up in Burlington County, not Camden County.”
Glad they Lost?🤷♂️
In addition to losses in Burlington County, the South Jersey Democratic machine also came up short in LD1. The GOP romped and swept out all three incumbents in NJ’s southernmost district (comprised of Cape May and bits of Atlantic, and Cumberland counties.)
After a mutually self-serving coalition with ex-Governor Chris Christie for eight long years, the South Jersey Democratic machine has gone overboard to undermine Gov. Phil Murphy’s agenda. We’re still locking up more people for weed than any other state in the county and same south Jersey districts that tanked marijuana legalization also thwarted marriage equality legislation back in 2010. So it’s a pattern, an actual track record of sacrificing their values for power.
Tuesday’s results mean 5 fewer South Jersey Democrats will be doing the Machine’s bidding in Trenton. I am totally fine with that and I’m happy to say it aloud for the people who can’t.
InsiderNJ reached out to Krista Jenkins, director of Fairleigh Dickinson’s PublicMind poll, to get a quick Election day post-mortem based on actual data.
Did she notice a Trump effect?
“Not much Trump effect,” Ms Jenkins told InsiderNJ. “(Tuesdays results) were a reflection that the voters understand and can distinguish what’s happening on a national level versus what’s happening here in the state.”
So Democrats have to do more than complain about Trump if they wanna win tough races?
“Elections are local contests,” Ms Jenkins added. “What’s going on in the White House, that’s largely irrelevant to how schools are run in NJ.”
What about Governor Murphy?
“Murphy still has a strong Democratic majority and that’s good for him,” Ms Jenkins added. “Our polls indicate that people like him but don’t necessarily love him and are hard-pressed to name his accomplishments. Murphy needs to say to voters ‘Look what we have been able to accomplish together’ because there doesn’t seem to be an awareness among voters.”
I’d remind the Governor that his administration worked vigorously to curb gun violence which voters seem to like. Murphy should also remind voters he signed the bill to gradually raise NJ’s minimum wage to $15/hour.
Jay Lassiter just took a DNA test and he’s 100% old enough to remember when LGBT advocates did more than just Tweet.