The rag tag forces of the opposition made their final arguments to their respective troops this evening in Camden, that battered wharf city where the establishment envisioned a state tax incentivized helicopter pad for itself, while making a dumpster fire of democracy, in a city dominated by food desert slums.
Mayor Victor Carstarphen didn’t have to do much in the lead up to Tuesday, Election Day, other than trust in the weight of the machine to deoxygenate an insurrection already cannibalizing itself with three candidates appealing to a worn out local population.
Last Friday, in the aftermath of Frank Moran’s sudden, unexplained retirement, and the Camden County Democratic Organization’s subsequent showering of support on Carstarphen, then transitioning pre-election to make him the mayor in time to front him to the community as an incumbent, Governor Phil Murphy supplied the Maraschino Cherry on top of Mayor Carstarphen’s campaign with an enthusiastic endorsement.
It looked like too much establishment power to handle, but School Board Member Elton Custis, running off the line in a quixotic try to hold Carstarphen and the group behind him, and the governor, accountable, gave it a shot.
“Twenty-four hours,” he told his supporters at an indoor pre-Election Day rally downtown. “Twenty-four hours.
“Fight back,” Custis shouted. “Fight back!”
At his own rally, educator Luis Quinones also rallied his supporters ahead of Election Day.
“They don’t have any respect for our students,” said Quinones, standing on a residential porch. “Students don’t even have a sidewalk.
[As mayor] “I will focus on the students above politics,” Quinones added. “You will have someone sitting at the table who will represent your concerns. I want to work for my family. You’re my family.
“I will always do the best for the people,” added the candidate, eyes focused skyward. “We’re going to start a new beginning for our city. We have to speak up. I don’t want to see any of the residents of Camden being silent.”