Symbolic Portents Notwithstanding, Fahl Insists on Local Positive Message in Showdown with DelVecchio (with VIDEO)

LAMBERTVILLE – If the whole of the country could be bulldozed into one riverside burgh, with


candidates assuming antagonistic roles, for the sake of argument, which mirror the dimensions of a larger national impassioned political collision, the result might look something like Lambertville, soundtrack by an REM cover band chunking the chords to Bang and Blame.

You might not catch it at first in this Vermont-like town, which on its face does little to satisfy the typical basest New Jersey tribal and machine-tentacle tendencies.

But it’s here where incumbent Mayor Dave DelVecchio hopes to avoid what his allies see as unfortunate timing, the culture’s propensity to stereotype and vilify to devastating effect, and the things-happen-in-threes curse that would lock dismally into place if DelVecchio were to go down Tuesday on the heels of long-serving Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider and Belleville Mayor Ray Kimble both going belly up last month. They make the case for dead ahead competence. City on a sound fiscal path, they argue. AA bond rating.

Longer in the tooth by 28 years than when he first took office and a little banged up, DelVecchio faces the challenge of his career in Julia Fahl, a major gifts officer for Planned Parenthood and the spouse of Kari Osmond, a popular local figure who serves as district director for U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12).

InsiderNJ found Fahl on the street on Sunday where she and Osmond an entourage that included other family members made their way toward a community picnic. Fahl grew up in Red Bank, then moved to Albuquerque for a while where as a distance runner she ran along the Sandia Mountain Range for endurance training before finally making her way back to Jersey. She said she’s not running a negative campaign against DelVecchio, and commended him for doing a good job.

“We could just be doing so much more,” said the challenger in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary.

It doesn’t sound like the kind of aggressive, revolutionary message that, for example, another change agent, Steven Fulop, employed against Jerry Healy and the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO). But with the #me2 movement bubbling under the surface of everything in politics right now, well-organized pushback against male-dominant twitter meltdown overkill as epitomized nationally by President Donald J. Trump may be enough to crack the walls of power in this progressive river town.

The ill-placed DelVecchio might just be in an undertow not even of his own making, or so say the locals.

Fahl has more homes with signs than the mayor by about a 2 to 1 margin.

When you drive through town, the visual image strongly suggests that DelVecchio is in trouble.

In a classic Hoboken-west dynamic, Lambertville’s newcomers gravitate toward Fahl.

The people connected to town government – for lack of a better word, the born and raised crowd – are with the mayor.

“If Dave pulls it out it’s because he co-opted the indivisible group and the old guard comes out in bigger numbers than the newcomers [people who have lived in town under 25 years],” a source told InsiderNJ. “Fahl was cruising to a small but comfortable win but has played it safe and not given people enough reason to vote for her.

“The race was going Fahl but DelVecchio has stabilized the race,” the source insisted.

Fahl looked confident on Sunday without giving a sense of cockiness.

“It’s all get out the vote for us,” she said. “In previous elections, 150 people have voted for our mayor. The more people who get out and vote the better. We think this is going to be an historic election for Lambertville. We had 28 volunteers out yesterday and we knocked on 600 doors. It’s time for some fresh eyes on the budget.”

Asked about the symbiosis of her candidacy and the #me2 movement, Fahl downplayed any connection, insisting on a local only focus.

“People want to hear about the positive changes we’re going to make in this town,” she said, refusing even a scintilla of antagonism.

The whole town was bearing down on Tuesday, arguably with unspoken symbolic import.


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