Former Assemlyman Dan Jacobson, publisher of the triCityNews weekly newspaper and AsburyParkSun hyper-local news website, launched his campaign to return to the legislature last week with his tCN column urging Senate Jennifer Beck to run for governor.
Jacobson served one term in the General Assembly, 1990-1991. He was swept out of office, along with the Democratic majority in the 1991 election over Governor Florio’s $2 billion tax increase, including sales taxes on toilet paper and food. In 2011 Jacobson registered as a Republican in order to challenge then Senator Sean Kean for the 11th district Senate nomination in the GOP primary. But the legislative redistricting commission foiled Jacobson’s plans by moving Kean’s hometown of Wall out of the 11th district into the 30th, and moving Red Bank, Beck’s hometown into the 11th.
Jacobson didn’t want to run against Beck. They’re friends and agree on most issues. And Beck’s political stardom is one of Jacobson’s major journalistic accomplishments. Just ask him. Jen Beck never even would have been elected to the Red Bank Borough Council if not for Dan Jacobson pumping her up in the triCityNews.
So Jacobson ran a pax-on-both houses Independent race for Assembly in 2011 to make a point. 2304 voters, 3%, got the point and have long since forgotten it. Obviously his heart wasn’t in the Assembly race. He really wants to be in the Senate, but he doesn’t want to run against Beck.
The obvious solution is for Beck to step up and run for governor. Jacobson rightly argues that the NJ GOP doesn’t have a viable alternative for a post-Christie candidate. The NJGOP is actually weaker now than it was before Christie was elected in 2009.
Jacobson’s case for a Beck gubernatorial run? “For there’s no one else out there — in either party — who doesn’t represent the same old bullshit,” Jacobson writes in the opening salvo of his tCN column. That’s not quite true. Jacobson knows other leaders –in both parties –who don’t represent the same old bullshit. Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon comes to mind among Republicans, as does Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty among Democrats. There are others, but none of them holds a office that Dan covets.
Dan told MMM that he wouldn’t run if nominated or serve if elected when we asked him about his ambition to return to the legislature. But we’ve heard that him from before.
We think Dan should run for Mayor or Council in Asbury Park this year, regardless of what he or Beck do in 2017. No one is more qualified to serve in either one of those offices and Asbury Park needs his leadership. Dan has singularly lead the resurgence of Asbury Park, even through the great recession, from the publisher’s desk at triCityNews. Just ask him. But he is frustrated by boneheaded moves the last council made and that the new council, that will only serve one year due to a new form of government to be elected this November, is moving too slowly to correct.
Jacobson argues that Beck, and her husband, restaurateur Dan Shields should sacrifice their good life with a statewide campaign for governor, because New Jersey needs Jen’s leadership. “And it if doesn’t work, so be it. Beck can return to her happy life. So Jennifer wins personally even if she loses politically.” Except that she’s out of the Senate, unable to run for both offices in 2017.
The same argument can be made about Jacobson running for Mayor or Council in Asbury Park. Asbury Park needs him. If he loses, so be it. He and Mrs. Jacobson can go back to their happy life. If he wins, lots of Asbury Park residents have a shot at a happier life.
“I’m really talking about public service here — meaning a sacrifice for the public good. Not phony statements about it most politicians make. I say
Jennifer Beck Dan Jacobson is needed right now in this state Asbury Park.”