By Harold Kane, Monroe Township
There is an old cliché in New Jersey Politics. The cliché states “When it is the Republicans to lose, they will lose.” The district 16 special election this year will be theirs to lose unless they wake up. The electoral composition of the district has radically changed since the 2010 census. In 2007 the Republican Assembly candidates won 58-42. With the elimination of parts of Somerset and Morris counties and the inclusion of South Brunswick and the Princetons the Republicans managed to win the 2011 Assembly race 52-48, a drop of 12 points. The special election will be to replace the deceased Peter Biondi. At first the Republican “leadership” offered William Mennen of Tewksbury, but he didn’t live in the district. Mennen said that he would move, but then changed his mind. They then offered Donna Simon, a councilperson from Readington. Ms. Simon has absolutely no name recognition outside of Readington. The name recognition becomes even more important in the 2012 general election in that the Democrats will have Barack Obama at the top of their ticket. With Obama every Democrat and Democrat leaner in Middlesex and Mercer counties will be coming out of the woodwork to vote. The Republicans have a candidate that can overcome the Democrat advantage in the special Assembly Election. That candidate is Bill Spadea of Princeton. Spadea has run for Congress garnering 40% of the vote which is twice what the “experts” said that he would get. He is a party activist with great name recognition in precisely the portion of district 16 where it is needed most. Spadea has already assembled a campaign team with many years of experience. This is in comparison to Simon. Exactly when was the last time the Somerset/Hunterdon Republican parties had to fight for an Assembly seat? A Democrat victory in the 16th would further impede Governor Christie from achieving his goals.
The Republican chairpersons in Somerset County (Al Gaburo), Hunterdon County (Henry Kuhl), and Mercer County (Dave Fried, Maria Bua) need to put their support behind Spadea at the special convention this month. Spadea can win in November, Simon cannot!