The Political Sirens of Sussex County

NEWTON – Sussex County, which occupies the northern top of the great Garden State, is unusual for a few reasons.

It is rural, not overly congested – for the most part – and in contrast to most of the state, very Republican.

But that doesn’t mean political fights are unheard of.

A few months ago, the county GOP establishment declared war – so to speak – on one of its own, County Commissioner William Hayden, accusing him of fabricating his military service.

They want Hayden to resign, but he has refused to do so.

Now we have a primary involving five candidates (not Hayden) for two seats. Technically, it’s for two nominations, but Democrats are really no factor here.

Running as a team are incumbent Chris Carney and Alan Henderson.  Another incumbent, Earl Schick, is running on his own.,

Then you have the team of Robert Kovic and Harvey Roseff, who claim to be the conservative ticket.

A candidate forum last week sponsored by the Straus newspaper group was mostly polite, but as is the case these days, social media is different.

And that’s when we meet the unlikely pair of Chris Christie and Joe Biden.

They both pop up in a recent dispatch from Kovic and Roseff.

The candidates say “Chris Christie insiders” are running Sussex County and that it’s time “to drain the swamp.” That’s where one sees a photo of Biden.

County Republicans are urged to “Vote Trump” and by extension, Kovic and Roseff.

This is politics “at its best.”

When running in a Republican primary, link your opponents to the Democratic president, an unpopular (in GOP circles) former governor and associate yourself with Trump.

The fact neither of those three men have anything to do with the 2024 Sussex campaign, or for that matter, county government,  is beside the point.

Elections can be hard to figure in Sussex County, where there is no “county line.”  Last year, for instance, Jack DeGroot, a young farmer, upended incumbent Herb Yardley.

As noted, the debate was quite civil, although there were a few signs of disagreement.

Henderson, the man running with incumbent Carney, said he wants to keep Sussex as it is.

You hear that a lot in campaigns. The point is easy to grasp: Sussex is a beautiful place and that beauty should be maintained.

Kovic had another take.

He said he wants Sussex to be better.

His runningmate, Roseff, complained about bad roads and lousy Internet service. The pair’s mailing also listed such things as corruption and no-show jobs to the politically connected.

Carney at the debate, responded that the board is addressing concerns with the road and Internet service, suggesting that his opponents are just looking for an issue.

“Welcome to the party,” he said to Kovic.









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3 responses to “The Political Sirens of Sussex County”

  1. Sussex is known for poorly educated people who base life on fairy tales, so easily misled by authoritarian con men.

  2. This is what the remaining counties that have county lines can look forward to if the line is done away with. Block voting has not been successful in Sussex County.

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