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Analysis of Key Races on the Eve of NJ Election Day

Kelly Yaede, incumbent Republican Mayor of Hamilton NJ defeated challenger Dave Henderson in the 2019 Primary Election.

It’s tough to identify an overarching plot line if you look at NJ elections this week.

South Jersey Democrats want to seize on any and every opportunity to make the governor look foolish, but he hasn’t really attached himself anywhere, to any particular theater.

If one of the incumbents loses in LD17 after that robocall Phil Murphy did last week, that would prompt no end of howling – the equivalent of the Drake curse.

But no one’s buzzing about an upset.

Some nuggets:

Keep an eye on Roselle

Organizer and advocate Archange Antoine.

A source in the crevices of Union County said he sees a strong late-in-the-game campaign presence by former School Board Member Archange Antoine, in a three-way race for mayor. Dumped off the school board, Antoine is in a tug of war with incumbent Mayor Christine Dansereau and Recreation Director Donald Shaw. In other assorted bar notes, the source – speculating on the other globs of politics in his home county – said the line carries surrogate to freeholder. No upsets up top. State Senator Joe Cryan (D-20) loses a county committee seat or two. Nothing crazy. Keeps his council. The source predicted Linden Mayor Derek Armstead losing control of his council. Fifty-fifty Chairman Anthony Salter of Hillside holds on. State Senator Nick Scutari (chair of the party in Union) keeps a lock on committee votes. No strong challenge. Again, it’s all speculative. But wired.

The Pat Walsh Factor

Perhaps alert to the flattened features of the 2018 campaign of U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance and the loss last year of two GOP freeholder seats, the incumbent Republican Freeholder has unleashed an army of Pat Walsh doppelgangers (or so it has seemed) on her home county of Somerset in an effort to project high visibility. No event is too small, no pile of homemade cupcakes too innocuous, no stretch of parade roadway too long. Walsh has run an old school Republican Primary campaign based on making eyeball to eyeball voter contact. Her effort may prove helpful to running mate Bill Parenti of North Plainfield, the establishment candidate for sheriff, who is facing a searing challenge from former K-9 officer Tim Pino. It’s ugly (see accompanying Pino piece). Walsh’s ubiquitous presence could be a difference-maker.

Yaede

Yaede, once in the Gubernatorial Sweepstakes, forced to Play Defense in Her Backyard

Central Jersey Republicans once had grand designs for Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede, who in 2012 supplanted a mayor jailed on corruption charges. She even gave off gubernatorial sparks at one point in her career. But that was before President Donald J. Trump deep-sized the GOP brand in a state now wholly dominated by Democratic Party cannibalizing. Forced into parochial protection mode, Yaede fumbled away the largesse of her own party’s establishment and now must contend – in a low turnout contest – with Dave Henderson, who has the coveted line. The mayor also has the handicap of retiring Republican Councilwoman Ileana Schirmer actively campaigning against her. Then there are those crazy violations at the animal shelter. The fastest way to turn people against you is to be mean to either kids or pets, a source said, and perception that the latter got back-burnered in the Yaede years may spark significant backlash. Two sources say it’s a pick ’em Republican Primary Tuesday between Yaede and Henderson, with Democrats rubbing their hands together behind the November general election candidacy of Jeff Martin.

Piscataway on the Boil

The exceedingly urbane state Senator Bob Smith (D-17) must keep frantic pace with a Pamplona-sized political bull run in the streets of his home town. Fifty seats are up. Smith’s defending Democratic Committee seats against a group called the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats. He’s obviously taking the challenge seriously. People have spied him on the doors. Also, his ally, former Mayor Ted Light (a member of the state Local Finance Board), fired off a letter to voters identifying the organization president of the insurgency as a “political boss.”

Here’s that letter:

In response, Staci Berger offered the following:

“Tomorrow, we will go up against one of the oldest, most well-financed, and least responsive political operations in the state, with grassroots candidates and volunteers. We are building a movement among our neighbors for our community, and whatever happens tomorrow at the polls, that work continues. We want open government – simple things, like broadcasting council meetings – and an open community, where input is valued and new ideas are sought. Elections are moments, and this is surely one. We are building a movement that goes beyond tomorrow.”

EDA hearing

On the Waterfront

Three seats are up for grabs in the southern city by the river otherwise known as Camden, and the insurgents want to use the backdrop of the state Economic Development Authority (EDA) tax incentive story (and there was another wrinkle on that front today at Politico) to snipe them from the Camden County Democratic Organization.

“That’s where we are putting our energies,” said Amir Khan, a rival of the establishment Democrats.

Here are the candidates, courtesy of The Courier Post:

In Camden’s 1st Ward, which includes the city’s downtown and Lanning Square neighborhoods and stretches down to South Camden and Fairview, incumbent Dana Burley will not seek reelection. 

Shaneka Boucher, Gloria G. Marshall, Tina Israel and Vance Bowman will vie for Burley’s seat.

The 2nd Ward will see current Camden High School basketball coach Vic Carstarphen face Theo Spencer, who ran for mayor in 2017 against Frank Moran and Ray Lamboy. The two are seeking to succeed Brian Coleman, who also will not seek reelection. The 2nd Ward encompasses the Whitman Park, Parkside and Centerville sections of the city.

In the 3rd Ward, newcomers Vida Neil Rosiji and Matthew Goodwin are looking to unseat incumbent Marilyn Torres. That ward includes much of East Camden.

A Familiar Face Regenerates in Manasquan

There’s a decent race tomorrow that has flown below everyone’s radar … Democratic mayor primary in Manasquan.

Councilman Michael Mangan is challenging incumbent Mayor Ed Donovan. Mangan’s the youngest member of the government, but the most experienced. He’s 35, but has been on council for 12 years. He’s been the Democratic chairman for 15 years. He was ED of the Monmouth Democrats for three years, including when we won a majority on the freeholder board.  Mangan has the line.

Mangan
Caramagna

Elmwood Park Disaster

It’s bedlam. Pure, unadulterated bedlam. In the GOP Primary, Magdalena “Maggie” Giandomenico has the momentum. But local Dems are pushing for Robert Colletti because he’s supposedly weaker, said a source, taking a gander at the town where Democratic ex-Mayor Frank Caramagna is still on the ballot, on wobbly legs, facing a shove-out by Councilman Joe Dombrowski, a Democrat.

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  • LookingOutForUnion

    Joe Cryan and his ilk need to be in prison. He’s the reason I voted everyone but column A in Union.

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