By Dan Jacobson, also published in the September 15th edition of the triCityNews
This is a column I’ve been itching to write.
I’m running as an Independent for the state Assembly in the 11th District. While the odds of winning are tough, it’s not impossible.
And I’m quite serious about holding the office. I’d be great at it. Mostly because I can’t stomach bullshit. Visit my campaign website at danjacobson.net. You’ll see.
But I never take myself too seriously. And since politics these days is pretty much a cheesy joke, I’m also having fun with the campaign.
Like with this column. Oh man, I’d love to be there when Republican State Senator Jennifer Beck sees the headline – she has no idea what to expect! Don’t anyone tell her!
Here’s the deal. Everyone knows that Jennifer and I have been close friends since this newspaper started almost 13 years ago. As a result of redistricting, she’s now in the new11th District where I’m running for the Assembly. So will she endorse me?
“Dan Jacobson is a great friend, and I think he’d make a great Assemblyman – if he were running as a Republican,” Beck said. “I wish he’d join our party already. I would do everything I could to get him elected if he ever ran as a Republican – no matter what office he was seeking.”
“The best thing for our state right now is to elect Republicans to the Senate and Assembly, and I am fully supporting my running mates, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini,” she said. “They are both excellent legislators, and I work extremely well with them.”
Of course, Jennifer didn’t say any of that. I just made it up. I’m 100 percent serious! I do that every so often with Jen in the paper, and it’s hilarious. What’s so funny is that it’s always what she would have said! No doubt I nailed it here once again. Guaranteed.
The reason Jen would stress out over the headline? She’d wonder if I was about to cause havoc with her running-mates or with the Republican Party by somehow making it seem like we’re in cahoots in this election, or that she may endorse me. (Beck wouldn’t freak out about the phony quotes. She’s used to those by now. Bet she burst out in laughter when she reads them.)
But here’s the fun part for me. I get to make my point about the absurdity of party politics. Plus, I get to tease my friend Jennifer Beck.
After all, why can’t Beck say that I’d be a great Assemblyman and suggest a vote for me or her two running mates? I’m an Independent, not a Democrat. Why not just say she supports all three of us, and let the voters pick two? Everyone gets two votes.
Even better, Jennifer and I are almost identical in our views on social and economic issues – even closer than her two running mates! Surely, that should merit some type of endorsement!
(Admittedly, Beck’s running mates – Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande – along with Jennifer and I, pretty much agree on economic issues. The difference comes in on social issues: Jen and I are both pro-choice and favor same sex marriage. Mary Pat is with us on same-sex marriage, but is pro-life. Caroline is a true social conservative: both against same-sex marriage and pro-life.)
But my point remains: I’m still closest with Beck on the issues!
“All the more reason to join me in the Republican Party, and run as a Republican,” Beck responded, in another quote that I just made up.
Anyway, isn’t this all so silly? Who gives a shit about parties these days? People are sick of the partisan bullshit. In fact, I’ve never heard so many people say they don’t care about a candidate’s party. They’ve had it.
Meanwhile, with the recent redistricting, Beck just picked up a ton of new territory that she never represented before – which happens to be exactly where the triCityNews circulates!
Yup, once again this newspaper has made her. For almost thirteen years, Beck has been heavily covered in the triCity region of eastern Monmouth County – a big reason she’s going to kick ass in November. Now she represents this region! And this all started because she was a great story way back in 1999, when as an unknown thirty-two year old Republican she beat the Ed McKenna Democratic machine up in Red Bank to win a Council seat.
TriCity went all out for Beck in that election. We thought Red Bank needed to be shaken up. Our push culminated with a huge front page headline the week before the election stating: “We back Beck!”
The triCityNews – still less than a year old – caught a lot of shit for that. Like we cared. We then predicted Beck’s rise – accurately stating she’d make it to the state Assembly and Senate. We also predicted she’d go higher, such as to Congress or Lieutenant Governor. I still say that will happen.
Although Beck’s coverage in the triCityNews has been overwhelmingly positive, we did have two problems in the past 13 years. Hey, at the triCityNews we always call it like we see it!
The first was about ten years ago when I completely blasted Jennifer for not having the balls – as it were – to challenge Ed McKenna for Mayor of Red Bank. Man, we hammered her. Jen didn’t talk to me for a year. And about three years ago, I again completely blasted her for voting against same-sex marriage. Jen took that one better: she didn’t talk to me for only six months.
(Beck reversed her position on same sex marriage a few months ago – a story first reported in this newspaper. And, yes, the quotes we printed in that article were really from her.)
So, yeah, Jen and I are still great friends. In fact, whenever I speak to her these days, the first thing I ask is what colors she’d prefer for the legislative office I tell her we’ll share when I win.
But all joking aside, let me make something clear: When I declared my candidacy, I told Jennifer that we would have no discussions about campaign activities. She immediately agreed. And that’s what we’ve done. I have no idea what the Republicans are doing, and Beck has no idea of what I’m doing. I insisted on that so Jennifer would have no problems with the Republican Party or her running mates.
And while I’m having a good time here, let me say some kind words about those in the Assembly race from both parties. After all, I like my opponents – it’s the whole Goddamned system that’s pissing me off. That’s what I’m targeting by running.
I voted for Mary Pat Angelini last time for Assembly. I’d vote for her again this year if I wasn’t running. I love Mary Pat. She’s one of the few normal people I know in politics. (This year I’m “bullet voting” for just myself. It’s the best way to send a message.)
And, if I weren’t running, my second vote would likely go to Caroline Casagrande. More than anyone else on the ballot, I sense Caroline shares my gut libertarian instincts on economic issues. And those issue are most important this year.
But that second vote would be a tough choice: The other remaining candidate is Democrat Vin Gopal, with whom I’m in total agreement on social issues. He’s a young guy in his mid-20s who’s also in the publishing business. Vin puts out a community newspaper and magazines in Northern Monmouth. I got to love that! Plus Vin reminds me of a young Dan Jacobson when I served a term in the state Assembly in my 20s. Vin is just a lot nicer. Great guy.
(As of the deadline for this column, Democrat Marilyn Schlossbach, an Asbury Park restaurant owner, had dropped out of the race, and no replacement had been named. If I hadn’t run this year – and Marilyn had stayed in – she’d have gotten my second vote. We’ve known each other for over 25 years, and I love what Marilyn has done for Asbury Park. She too has received extensive coverage since 1999 in the triCityNews for her various activities.)
So there you go. Jennifer Beck is now breathing a sigh of relief. I’ve caused her no trouble with the Republicans in this column. And I’ve been able to say only the nicest things about my opponents. It’s like the fantasy campaign.
Wouldn’t it be wild if lightning struck and I actually won this election? Who runs a campaign like this?