CHESTER TWP. – Mike Inganamort stood amid supporters in the backyard of his home and delivered a blunt message.
“The state of New Jersey has lost its damn mind.”
Those few words aptly sum up the Republicans’ campaign theme with the legislative elections six weeks or so away.
Sure, this is destined to be a low turnout affair, but campaign activity is underway throughout New Jersey.
Inganamort is in a very safe district for the GOP – LD-24, which covers Sussex County, a conservative bastion, and a small part of Morris County, which is where he was Wednesday evening.
Inganamort, who is the mayor of this town, is seeking an Assembly seat along with Dawn Fantasia. Both are newcomers. Parker Space is running for the Senate. District representation is changing because two legislators, Assemblyman Harold Wirths and Senator Steve Oroho, are not seeking reelection.
The point here is that Democrats have swung too far left in regard to pushing all types of sex education in schools, banning gas-powered cars by 2035 and putting marine life at risk by supporting off-shore wind turbines. And, of course, they are also continuing to spend – and spend – and spend.
Everyone enjoying beverages and food on this lovely September night concurred, but some may recall everything in this district has not been peaches and cream.
The June Assembly primary here was especially nasty and personal.
Reflecting on that, Fantasia said the team of candidates went through the fire and are better for it.
And now, she’s ready to “battle the lunacy” in Trenton.
That’s the Republicans’ argument all over New Jersey and it is why Inganamort says the state has lost its “damn mind.”
Let’s look at two other districts.
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In the competitive legislative race in LD-16, two of the candidates sent out a release about the Hillsborough Board of Education.
No surprise on the surface. As stated, Republicans across the state say education, or rather parents’ rights, are one of the key issues in the November election.
In this case, however, it’s the Democrats who are talking about schools.
Assemblyman Roy Freiman came to the recent Hillsborough school board meeting to announce $626,000 in state funding for the district. The money will be used to upgrade “aging equipment” in the high school auditorium.
Freiman and fellow Democrats, Sen. Andrew Zwicker and Assembly candidate Mitchelle Drulis, are trying to keep control of a district that ranges over parts of four counties – Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset.
If nothing else, this reinforces the power of incumbency. Incumbents can get money for local governments, challengers can’t.
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Remember the “kitchen table” back in the 2021 gubernatorial election.
Jack Ciattarelli said during a debate that such things as sexuality should be discussed not in school but by a family at their “kitchen table.”
Phil Murphy retorted with a crack:
“Lots going on at your kitchen table.”
That prompted Ciattarelli in the days ahead to criticize Murphy for making fun of something as wholesome as the kitchen table.
Although it is likely sheer coincidence, the Dems in LD-38 seem to like the kitchen table as well. LD-38 in Bergen County has been Democratic of late, but Republicans see a chance to flip it.
The GOP candidates are Micheline Attieh for Senate and Gail Horton and Barry Wilkes for Assembly.
At any rate, a recent advertisement for Sen. Joe Lagana and Assembly members Chris Tully and Lisa Swain shows the Democratic candidates in a kitchen happily preparing a meal.
It’s quite the homey feeling.