In Hometown Red Bank, Beck Readies for the Final LD11 Drive

RED BANK – Slogging through the rain, windshield wipers making the frantic back and forth sound they do in movies after a car accident leaves behind no survivors and only the dull running commentary of the wipers hammering on hard glass, the car turned into a school parking lot and inside, in the gym, sat an impeccably poised state Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11).

Everyone else looked blown up by the storm that hit here and threw the election into disarray.

But Beck was ever publicly poised, even as sources said she faced a tough ride these final few hours. They kitchen sinked her in the end, the Dems, pumping $2.5 million in network TV ads and hammering a GOTV effort in the streets today that left the independent Republican, inevitably overhung with the motley of Chris Christie, Donald Trump and (only arguably) Kim Guadagno, trying to fortify and refortify with her veteran independent brand. It was hard. Beck in the past relied on the media to land punches. It happened in 2007 when the papers buried then incumbent Senator Ellen Karcher with that Christmas Tree story.

The new Facebook and Twitter and social media slapdash culture sludged into the vacuum caused by the demise of what just a decade ago were serious newspaper operations. The Asbury Park Press this time scrapped plans to endorse in the LD11 assembly contest, leaving the Republicans – who thought they could win the intellectual case against their rivals – in the lurch.

It was TV.

It was mail and GOTV armies of labor.

And then it was rain.

Heavy rain.

Beck sat in a nearly empty gym, the PA system a horror show of garbled front office irritable commands burping incessantly every five minutes. She wasn’t bitter, she said. She just felt the depletion of Fourth Estate potency this time and what it means ultimately will be another layer of independence gone. That was always the central argument to her reelection anyway: don’t give the Camden Democrats yet another seat at the table.

The challenger, businessman Vin Gopal, a former Monmouth County Democratic chairman, made the countervailing argument that he had built grassroots operations and miniaturized machines, town by town, to earn the looksee of the powerful senate president, who this morning told InsiderNJ that he had a shot.

It appeared that way, and then some, even as Beck refused to let the opposition see her deterred by the rain.




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