What will Dan Jacobson do?
The district’s Assembly seats are currently held by Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande. Gopal and Red Bank Councilwoman Kathy Horgan lost to Angelini and Casagrande by over 3000 votes (out of 37,093 cast) in 2011. Former Democratic Assemblyman Dan Jacobson, publisher of the triCityNews and AsburyParkSun earned 2358 votes as an Independent candidate that year.
MoreMonmouthMusings hereby endorses Gopal for one of the Democratic Assembly nominations in the 11th.
We were worried that 2015 would be a boring year politically in Monmouth County and that we’d have to start covering restaurant openings to keep our traffic up next year. With Gopal on the ballot, MMM’s political focus would be assured for another year.
Another reason we like Gopal as a candidate for Assembly is that it takes an issue of the table for Sheriff Shaun Golden’s reelection in 2016.
During the campaign for Monmouth GOP Chairman last spring, former Chairman John Bennett’s supporters claimed that Gopal’s Democrats would make Golden’s dual roles as an elected official and Chairman an election issue in county races. Gopal can’t credibly say that an elected official shouldn’t be a Party Chairman if he is a candidate and a Party Chairman. Not that credibility ever mattered to Gopal.
As noted here last week, Freeholders Lillian Burry and Gary Rich lost the 11th district by 3000 votes while being reelected county wide last month. Gopal thinks that means the Democrats have a fighting chance to pick up a seat or two in the lower house of the legislature next fall. He told The Star Ledger’s Auditor:
“The Democratic freeholder candidates won the district by more than 3,000 votes. It just shows that there is a lack of trust in Republican elected officials in that district,” Gopal said.
Gopal said Casagrande and Angelini, both in office since 2008, are out of touch with the district.
“Taxes and spending keep going up, New Jersey ranks 49 out of 50 in job growth and New Jersey,” he said. “Monmouth County has the 13th highest property taxes in the country. The Cassagrande/Angelini model isn’t working for our taxpayers. We can do better”
Gopal also said that there were a dozen potential Democratic candidates for Assembly in the 11th. He named four, in addition to himself; Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich, who came in last against Angelini and Casagrande in 2013, Neptune Township Committeemen Randy Bishop and Eric Houghtaling and Freehold Borough Councilman Kevin Kane.
Bishop, a candidate for Assembly in 2009, told MMM that he hasn’t given any thought to running in 2015.
Also contributing to Gopal’s optimism for 2015 in the 11th is the fact that the State Senate is not up for reelection next year. Angelini and Casagrande will lead the Republican ticket without the benefit of the very popular Senator Jennifer Beck leading on top of the ballot. Beck outperformed her Assembly running mates in 2011 and 2013. Gopal might see Beck’s absence from the ballot as an additional opening.
Jacobson laughed but wouldn’t comment when we asked him last week and this morning if he would run again in 2015. He was aware that the Republicans freeholder candidates had lost the district in November.
In 2011 when he eventually ran as an Independent for Assembly, Jacobson had earlier declared that he would run in the Republican Primary for State Senate against Sean Kean. But Kean was redistricted out of the 11th and ended up being elected to the Assembly in the 30th. Jennifer Beck was now the Senator in the 11th. Jacobson takes credit for Beck’s career. He would never challenge her.
Jacobson will be involved in the LD 11 race, either as a candidate or just stirring the pot in the triCityNews.
Jacobson really dislikes the Party system. He was fiercely independent as a one term Democratic legislator in the 1990’s, even getting physical with Assembly Speaker Joe Doria over a teachers pension funding bill that he threatened to vote with Republicans on. (Doria was the physical aggressor).
After experiencing how difficult a Independent run is in 2011, look to Jacobson to be a primary candidate in 2015, if he throws his hat into the ring. Which primary is the question. A Democratic primary would be easier to win, especially if Gopal and Zipprich are the organization’s choices. But a Republican primary victory would give Jacobson a better shot at going back to Trenton and mucking up the works.