Entries in Sussex County (53)


GOP voters to McCann: Hell No, We Won’t Vote!

Less than 24 hours after the polls closed, congressional candidate John McCann showed up at a place where he should have had a better reception.  McCann attended the regular monthly meeting of Skylands Tea Party in Sussex County. 

The two incumbent Freeholders who endorsed McCann are regular attendees and have a following there.  So it should have been an audience open to giving McCann a hearing.  Unfortunately for McCann, his words were a stark contrast to the campaign mailings he’s been sending out.  And that didn’t go down too well with those in attendance. 

Memo to McCann:  Don’t lie to people.  It pisses them off.  Memo to McCann’s handlers:  Don’t let him interact with average voters.  He pisses them off. 

One of the most effective Tea Party members later had this to say: 

“Well John McCan't (is) already at it. How so, simple. I decided to stay after the Tea Party meeting which he showed at. Figured I'd ask some 2nd Amendment questions of him, and see if a come together moment could be had.  Well that didn't work out quite so well. 

I asked about national reciprocity and his position. He said he is for it, but there are things you can and can't say to win an election.  I told him this is precisely why the 2nd amendment people stayed home during the gubernatorial election.    

He mentioned the NRA questionnaire, and I brought up the one for the rally in Trenton. He said he didn't have time to answer it. It came at 7pm and he was with his kids. I replied horsecrap with today's technology and smart phones it would have been a snap. He got heated.

My buddy came up and then he broke the cardinal rule with me. He called one of my closest friends, a liar. F*ck you’s were exchanged and that's Mr. McCan't. 

Won't tell you where he stands and will lie about whatever. Even called a good guy a liar. 

When I said I would vote for him but probably not volunteer, I was wrong.  I'll take Josh Gottheimer over this clown any day, because at least he’s been a gentleman every time I interacted with the guy.” 

Another activist chimed in:

“McCan't is a liar.. lied at the PCRRO candidates mtg while asking for the committee’s votes. He’s just a useful puppet with the convict pulling all of his strings!” 

Indeed.  And here is another reaction: 

“I was done with him the second I heard his answer to the question on reciprocity. He immediately turned into a typical politician.”

Anyone who recalls that great Robin Williams film, “Good Morning Vietnam”, will get the next reference:  John McCann is becoming the “Lieutenant  Steve Hauk” of the 5th District and it seems the troops want Adrian Cronauer back. 


Was Lonegan’s defeat an inside job?

Well, at least Jay Webber won… and Seth Grossman.

Bob Hugin won’t totally have his way in wrapping the State’s Republican brand in a plain brown paper.  He’s going to have a Reagan conservative and an eccentric libertarian to provide some color to the package – not to mention the incumbents, starting with the staunchly Pro-Life Chris Smith.  

What Hugin won’t have is a genuine Trump-style populist bouncing around in the orchestra, stealing the stage of an election that he plainly believes he is paying for.  Like Grossman, Steve Lonegan is decidedly his own article, but enough in the Trump mold to easily wear the costume.

McCann you say?  The most baldly dishonest campaign in memory will now be set aside, and with it, all the Trumpian rhetoric.  No, John McCann was not endorsed by President Trump, even though his campaign communications led you to believe he was.  More on this later. 

It is enough for now to compare the post-truth campaigning style of a certain southern political consultant to the rather insufficient counter-measures of the Lonegan team, whose messaging was done by a consultant shared with the Hugin team.  Although completely false, McCann’s consultant had the discipline to dominate his candidate, confine him to those tasks of which he was capable, and to run the kind of sharp, focused, MESSAGE-driven campaign that we don’t often see here in New Jersey. 

If McCann’s consultant survives the recent raid on his office by the FBI, the inquires by the United States Justice Department and such, he could become a formidable presence on the field in New Jersey.  It takes a certain toughness to come up with a message so at variance with a candidate, to bully the candidate into silence, and then to brazenly run with it to victory.

Unfortunately, now the candidate will think the victory his… he will start to talk again.  Like he did last week when, in an unguarded moment, he let slip his true feelings about abortion (he won’t vote for ANY Pro-Life legislation if elected to Congress) and guns (he opposes the NRA and supports universal background checks).  Did the New Jersey Family Policy Council know this when its (c)4 lobbying arm was induced into doing an openly political mailer that buttered the Pro-Choice candidate but trashed the Pro-Lifer?  Or did they know and did they not care?  More on this later. 

Not to worry though.  John McCann has served his purpose.  The candidate with the money lost (and now that candidate is a wounded, angry animal, sitting on a million dollar war chest).  But John McCann is broke.  He has eaten his seed corn.  Don’t look for him to trouble Josh Gottheimer.  And there might even be a reward in it for him.  Another lucrative patronage job perhaps?  He might end up a judge. 

So the money that would have been spent in the 5th fighting off the visceral attacks of a Lonegan candidacy will now be heading… where?  Which Democrat will be the beneficiary of yesterday… perhaps they will all share in a piece of it? 

Among the other lessons learned… 

The party potentates who opened the bottle  of a Tony Ghee candidacy did so before its time.  They gave the newcomer no time to breathe.  It’s a solid vintage that will hopefully be available again. 

And speaking of which.  We learn from the former Wally Edge that Peter Murphy is about to assume the throne of the GOP in Passaic County – the place he occupied before a certain United States Attorney, named Chris Christie, sent him away.  It’s a bad business – especially for Bob Hugin, who has made political corruption his ONLY issue.  Lonegan’s polling showed Murphy’s support to be the strongest negative against McCann.  More than 80 percent of Republicans were less likely to vote for a candidate who had his support… that’s REPUBLICANS.  You would have hardly guessed it from Lonegan’s campaign communications, but there you have it.

Surprisingly enough, Lonegan did have coattails of a sort.  In Sussex County, Lonegan-backed challengers to two incumbent Freeholders annihilated the incumbents.  It is the first time in living memory that a ticket with two incumbents was defeated in Sussex County.

Dawn Fantasia is the principal at a charter school.  Josh Hertzberg is an administrator with the ILA union.  These are what Republican candidates look like in our populist era.  Fantasia supported Senator Steve Oroho’s negotiations over the refinancing of the Transportation Trust Fund.  She learned about it and patiently explained the details to others – and ended up cutting a radio spot to that end. People warned that it would hurt her politically, because the final deal raised the gas tax, while cutting or eliminating a host of taxes (including the estate tax) and providing property tax relief.  Another lesson learned? 

John McCann injected himself into the Freeholder race, on behalf of the incumbents, who supported him.  He ran a radio spot that attacked Senator Oroho by name on the gas tax.  Former Congressman Scott Garrett came out in support of the incumbents and ran a robo-call on their behalf.  More lessons?

Lonegan won Sussex County, but by a much smaller margin – about 500 votes.  Why the difference?  Well, in Sussex, the Lonegan freeholder ticket had a strong message that they pursued relentlessly – and were quick and sharp with their counterattacks.  The Lonegan campaign proper lacked this, especially the quick counterpunches.  Fantasia and Hertzberg also had the full attentions of Kelly Hart, who had been “let go” by the Lonegan campaign in April.  She had been field director for Sussex County. 

Curiously enough though, when the dust settles after the General Election, the only big changes to the line-up of elected officials in CD05 will be the election of Lonegan’s running mates in Sussex County.  Everyone else… McCann and all his running mates in Bergen and Passaic will have lost. 

A few years ago, Ralph Nadar wrote a book called “Unstoppable” – in which he predicted the rise of populist movements on both the Left and the Right in response to the disconnect with the mainstream political parties.  He suggested that Left and Right reformers had much in common and therefore, the basis of a genuine “resistance” movement.

How will this translate with Dr. Murray Sabrin on the Libertarian Party ticket for U.S. Senate is anyone’s guess, but there are Libertarian candidates in Districts 5 and 11, and a Constitution party in District 3.  A Center-Left populist, Wendy Goetz, is also running in the 5th. 

And finally, election night parties.  The people you meet at such things are not average Republican voters.  Many earn a living from politics – whether as a lobbyist or a vendor, a job holder or a consultant.  They are in the business of politics – even those that just secure from it a certain status, as a member of a local government perhaps, or a school board.

That is not the case with 99 percent of Republican voters.  All they get out of voting is the idea that they are checking the box for someone who thinks like they do.  Most have a general idea of what the Republican Party stands for and that they stand for that too.  That “general idea” is provided to them, largely, by the mainstream media.  And yes, it includes the points that Republicans are Pro-Life and pro-Second Amendment.  

New Jersey’s Republican political class needs to learn to live with this.  Bring to a close their 40 years war with Reagan and their contempt for our base.  Trying to pretend that you are something else or “a different kind of Republican” is not a message, it is a deflection.  For all his money spent on advertising, Bob Hugin was able to convince just 52 percent of Republicans in Sussex County to vote for him.  He will need to do a great deal better. 

Let the political class make its money… but leave average GOP voters someone they can vote for. 

Sadly, the party took a step back yesterday.  They took away someone who meant something to a great many average Republicans – and they did so by telling voters that McCann was just a newer Lonegan, only more conservative, and that Donald Trump endorsed him.  We all know that isn’t true.  

And on that note, we begin the General Election.


Sheriff Mike Strada endorses Fantasia & Hertzberg for Freeholder


Freeholders gave raises to 50 insiders... stiffed regular workers

If you want to know why the county workers who plow the snow and fix the roads are so up in arms, consider this:  What were Freeholders Rose and Lazzaro thinking to be in the middle of contract negotiations with the county's blue-collar union workers, telling them you need to hold-the-line on spending, while handing out big raises to 50 of your white-collar cronies?   

Are these guys stupid, clueless, arrogant, or all three?

Actually, it is much simpler than that.  They do as Freeholder Boss George Graham tells them, and he is in the middle of doing some serious Empire Building.  Like taking over the Sheriff's Department, so he can turn it into the kind of patronage den they have back in Hudson County, where Graham, a former Democrat Party political consultant, ran campaigns for the Mayor of Bayonne and the like.

A recent letter from a reader explains it:

SOURCE: Freeholder Minutes, May 9, 2018

Now there is a justifiable anger from those county employees who have not been on the receiving end of the largesse of Freeholders Graham, Rose, and Lazzaro. For the first time in memory, the CWA employees union made an endorsement and endorsed their opponents. Such is the anger out there. 

It is clear that the three Freeholders have lost the moral high ground by handing out raises to their friends.  They cannot be agents for fiscal responsibility while they behave in such an irresponsible manner.  Perhaps two new freeholders, without the baggage of having taken care of their cronies, can argue on behalf of the taxpayers, for fiscal restraint, that we are all taxpayers and in this together?

Perhaps they can.  Because the incumbents certainly cannot. 


The Definition of Insanity

By Sam Adams

No, it's not what you think, because in Sussex it takes on a whole new meaning. 

Here we have a solar program that has gone bad and cost us millions. But to add insult to injury, we are sold a bill of goods by the freeholder board, that they will investigate where the money went.  Except for some of them on the board its more about politics than getting your money, why? 

    You don’t hire someone with more conflicts than James Comey to do the investigation, and that’s what Matthew Boxer has.  He worked as someone who would have a hand in the review process for the State when he worked there before he returned to the private sector law firm that conducted this so-called investigation into the same deal he had to approve. 

    But at a recent Tea Party meeting, that’s what Freeholder Rose hung his hat on. The fact that they had a pile of documents to wade through that could be used for litigation to get back your money. That investigation cost you almost $518,000, by the way.   

     Remember when I said you don’t hire the guy that signed off on a deal to investigate it?  Yeah, how’s that going to work out?  About as well as a screen door on a submarine. Get your snorkel, it’s getting deep. 

    In no way will anything be uncovered that is incriminating by Mr. Boxer because to do so would be an implication to the fact he was incompetent when he did the initial review. So, Freeholder Rose is selling you a whopper with no beef, there are no documents. Freeholders Rose and Graham know that.   

     But queue up the twilight zone music folks, to add to the insanity, the democrat in sheep's clothing John McCann, gets an endorsement from Freeholder Rose. 

   Now, who is suing Freeholders Rose, Lazzaro, and Graham?   Sheriff Strada.  He is doing so because he is the constitutionally elected law enforcement in the county, he requires his budgetary needs to be met, and the Freeholders have been fighting him on this, why?  Probably politics.  Strada’s budgets have always been reasonable, and significantly less than they could have been.   But here is where it gets insane, did Freeholder Rose endorse McCann in the hope that in some way he could get out of the lawsuit??  Because McCann was legal counsel to the Sheriff's association when he worked with Sheriff Saudino in Bergen County, a Hillary supporter, and democrat himself, as well.  And as a result of that connection, he may have made a promise to Freeholder Rose that he could pull something off.  Make it all go away for Freeholder Rose. After all, McCann has as many endorsements as Charles Manson and needs any he can get. 

     I don’t see Sheriff Strada caving on the lawsuit, the sheriff’s department needs to be funded.

 This is nothing more than a very, very desperate move by both McCann, and Freeholder Rose to try to save each other.  The voters of Sussex county are smarter than that.