By Art Gallagher
Its four weeks before election day, yet it hardly looks like campaign season throughout much of Monmouth County. Lawn signs are scarce in the parts of the county where I’ve traveled. I’ve only received one mailer.
The Asbury Park Press is doing their usual interviews of legislative and county candidates, but you’d have to go looking to find the write ups.
Governor Chris Christie’s presidential consideration has commanded much of the political attention and dominated the news. The legislative races are uncompetitive. Campaign money is scarce due to stifling pay to play laws and the poor economy.
Voter turnout is historically very low in years when the legislature is the top race. 2007 was the last such year. In Monmouth County 128,169 people voted in 2007. The following year, when Obama was elected, 292,037 people voted. 200,199 voted in the gubernatorial election of 2009 and 179,133 voted in the congressional elections last year. There are 379,431 registered voters in Monmouth County, according to Labels and Lists.
Marlboro is the exception. The Democratic incumbents, Mayor Jon Hornick running with Council members Frank LaRocca and Randi Marder are running hard to retain their offices. On paper, the municipal race in Marlboro should be a sleeper like the rest of the races in the county. Democrats have a 2619 voter registration edge in the township. The Republican organization is fractured and much of its best talent is supporting the Democrats. The underfunded Republican upstart candidates are relative newbies to the political process.
Yet legacy Mayor Jon Hornick and his team are running as if their lives, or livelihoods, depend upon it. They been advertising on NJ.com, they have billboards, lawn signs and mailers. They raised a lot of money and they are spending it.
With little organizational support, the scrappy underfunded team of Craig Marshall for Mayor running with Christopher Dean and Marianne Duffy-Longobardi for Council appear to be making a race of it.
The legislative races are snoozers. The county races are comatose, as are most municipal races. Marlboro is the only game around so MMM will focus on it over the next few weeks.