CHESTER – Rik Mehta is not yet this year’s Republican candidate for Senate, but he’s already looking ahead.
He says Cory Booker is living in the past – 1967 to be exact.
That was a momentous year. Riots over perceived racial injustice broke out in major cities across the land, Newark among them. Booker, of course, was not in Newark at the time. In fact, he wasn’t even born yet. Mehta’s point is that Booker’s views on racial matters are rooted in political battles that took place more than 50 years ago. New Jersey, he says, needs a senator who is acquainted with 2020.
This is a fascinating viewpoint, but as Mehta spoke tonight in a local park in his hometown, he still needed to win the nomination. He was confident about that, dismissing his principal opponent, Hirsh Singh, as a spoiled child.
“I think his mommy and daddy never said ‘no’ to him,” Mehta said.
This is an awfully odd election, a point reinforced by the fact Mehta held what he billed as a campaign rally two hours before the polls closed.
About 30 or so people crowded in and around a gazebo on the borough’s Main Street. Attendees included the mayors of Chester Borough and Chester Township – yes, there are two of them – along with Morris County Sheriff James Gannon and District 25 state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco.
Another supporter was Matt Moench, the mayor of Bridgewater.
He said he was confident Mehta will begin turning New Jersey “red” one election at a time.
Mehta’s primary opponents contend he is not conservative enough. Mehta has tried to combat that, and he did so again this evening, stressing his support for the unborn child and the Second Amendment. The obvious irony here is that those views may not help him in the general election, assuming he gets there.
More broadly, he said he wants to fight New Jersey’s high taxes and reputation for “corruption.” And to make the state a place people want to live in, not move away from.
Mehta says Booker, who he calls “out of touch,” can’t do that.
It was a fine rhetorical start to a fall campaign that hasn’t officially begun yet.