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?
Posted: September 16th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Dan Jacobson, NJ State Legislature, Uncategorized | Tags: 11th Legislative District, Caroline Casagrande, Dan Jacobson, Ed McKenna, Jennifer Beck, Marilyn Schlossbach, Mary Pat Angelini, Red Bank, Vin Gopal | 8 Comments »
Neptune Township Deputy Mayor Randy Bishop said he will not be a candidate for Assembly tonight when the 11th legislative district Democratic County Committee meets at that Asbury Park VFW to nominate a candidate to replace Marilyn Schlossbach. Schlossbach resigned her candidacy last week citing business obligations.
“During the nominating process in the spring I determined that I would not put my name up this year,” said Bishop, ” I have commitments in Neptune and in my personal life that take priority now. Too many of us in politics neglect our personal commitments.”
The list of potential candidates is a closely held secret. “All I know is that I’m supposed to show up at 6:30 tonight,” Bishop said, “if you hear who’s in the running, let me know”
One Democratic source said this morning that a final round of interviews had “just happened” and a party favorite had not been determined. The source wouldn’t say who has been interviewed.
If they have a quorum tonight, the 11th district Democratic County Committee members will nominate a running mate for Assembly candidate Vin Gopal and State Senate candidate Ray Santiago. Under Title 19, a quorum is 50% plus one of the county committee members.
The slate will face off against incumbent Republicans, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande. Former Democratic Assemblyman Dan Jacobson is also running for Assembly as an Independent. Internal Democratic polling indicates that Beck, Angelini and Casagrande are heavy favorites to be elected in the newly configured district.
Posted: September 14th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: 11th Legislative District, Caroline Casagrande, Jennifer Beck, Marilyn Schlossbach, Mary Pat Angelini, Randy Bishop, Ray Santiago, Vin Gopal | 1 Comment »
Monmouth County Democrats have shrouded the selection of an Assembly candidate to replace Marilyn Schlossbach in the 11th legislative district in more secrecy than a Koch Brothers convention.
They won’t even say where and when the convention to vote on a candidate will be. Campaign Manager Vlad Gutman said the convention will be “on Wednesday, somewhere in the district.”
MMM has learned that the convention will be Wednesday, 6:30PM at the Asbury Park VFW.
Democratic County Committee members from the district are being called and urged to attend the convention which requires, under Title 19, a quorum of 50% plus 1 of the committee members in order to select a candidate. While they are scrambling to get a quorum, the Democrats are also scrambling to find a candidate. No mention of potential candidates is being made on the calls to the committee members and no one will say who is under consideration or who has thrown their hat into the ring.
Schlossbach’s withdrawal was a big blow to the Democrats’ slim hopes of picking up Assembly seats in Monmouth County. An internal Democratic poll indicated that Schlossbach had the highest name recognition of all Assembly candidates, including incumbents Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande. While Schlossbach’s name recognition was superior, the poll indicated that the Republican team of Senator Jennifer Beck, Angelini and Casagrande are heavy favorites to win in November. Beck’s name recognition and favorables in the district are huge.
Despite a voter registration advantage in the district, the Democrats have a very thin bench. Elected officials like Red Bank Councilman Michael Dupont, Long Branch Councilman John Pallone (brother of the congressman), Neptune Township Deputy Mayor Randy Bishop and Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo all declined to run for the legislature back in April when the slate of Ray Santiago for Senate, Schlossbach and Vin Gopal for Assembly, all seeking their first elected office, was chosen by the party. Now that the summer fund raising season has past and polling has been done, the district looks less winnable for Democrats than it did it April, making it less likely that an experienced politico with a base will step up to replace Schlossbach.
Also complicating the Democrats task of finding an Assembly candidate, Santiago and Gopal have made support of gay marriage a central theme of their campaign. If marriage equality is a litmus test, finding a new candidate will be even more difficult.
Fund raising will be difficult whoever the Democrats nominate, with the possible exception of John Pallone who could tab his brother’s special interest supporters. Beck is dominating the fund raising race in the district by both raising money for her team and discouraging donors from contributing to her opponents. Beck called Cory Booker this week to express her displeasure over the fact that the Newark Mayor is headlining a fundraiser for Gopal later this month in Colts Neck.
The Democrats will probably come up with a nominee, if they get a quorum at the convention. Whoever it is will be taking one for the team and will probably get a new job or appointment some time in the next year.
Posted: September 10th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: 11th Legislative District, Caroline Casagrande, Cory Booker, Frank Pallone, Gerald Tarantolo, Jennifer Beck, John Pallone, Marilyn Schlossbach, Mary Pat Angelini, Michael Dupont, Randy Bishop, Ray Santiago, Vin Gopal, Vlad Gutman | 11 Comments »
Marilyn Schlossbach is withdrawing as a candidate for Assembly in the 11th legislative district.
“It is with great regret that I must withdraw my candidacy for Assembly. My efforts at this time must be focused on the health of my business, and protecting the jobs it has created,” said Schlossbach in a statement issued by 11th district Democratic campaign.
Campaign Manager Vlad Gutman told MMM, “the hurricane hit Marilyn’s businesses hard. She has determined that she must focus on their recovery and that it is not appropriate for her to be a candidate at this time.”
The Democrats biggest challenge in replacing her may be getting a quorum of 11th district county committee members to attend nominating convention.
Gutman was confident that a new candidate would be nominated but declined to name any publicly.
Red Bank Councilman Michael Dupont, also a member of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, said that he would not be a candidate, “No, not at this time. I have a young family, a 15 year old and twins that will be five in December.”
Dan Jacobson, a former Democratic member of the Assembly now running as an Independent, said that he would not accept the Democratic nomination.
“With all due respect to my friends in the Democratic party, no,” said Jacobson
Posted: September 7th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: LD 11th, Marilyn Schlossbach | 10 Comments »
By Art Gallagher
Former Democratic Assemblyman and tri-CityNews publisher Dan Jacobson has filed his petition to run for Assembly in the 11th legislative district as an Independent.
Jacobson’s candidacy creates a five way race for two Assembly seats. The Republican candidates are incumbents Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini. The Democratic candidates are restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach and publisher Vin Gopal.
Jacobson said told MMM that his candidacy is not a reflection upon his opponents, but on the process. “Legislative elections in Monmouth County are stale and rarely competitive,” said Jacobson, “this is an opportunity for me to say my peace in a way that most candidates can’t because they are beholden to their party and special interests. If I can do that and perhaps make the race more interesting and competitive, that in itself will be a public service.”
Jacobson considers himself a Libertarian on economic and social issues. He said economic issues are paramount in this race. School vouchers are an example of where he thinks both parties have failed the public.
“What is an more important issue for the poor than educating their children? When I was last ran for the Assembly in 1993 I advocated starting a voucher program in the urban districts and then phasing them in throughout the state. Since then the Republicans have had control and the Democrats have had control and there has been no improvement with how we educate our kids.”
Public employees unions are another area of government that Jacobson wants to reform. “It is wrong that unions are collecting mandatory dues from our public employees and using that money for political purposes. Unions should set up PACs and let their members contribute voluntarily is they so choose.”
Of his opponents, only Angelini returned a call for comment. “Dan is a friend. I welcome him into the race and look forward to hearing his take on the issues,” said Angelini, ” I think there will be many common themes between us.”
“I don’t understand why he is doing this,” said Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vic Scudiery, “Dan should worry about his newspaper.” Scudiery was chairman when Jacobson last served in the Assembly.
Jacobson filed 77 signatures with his petition. He said he was told that 50 are required.
Posted: June 6th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: 11th Legislative District, Caroline Casagrande, Dan Jacobson, Marilyn Schlossbach, Mary Pat Angelini, NJ Assembly, Vin Gopal | 17 Comments »