You can add former Galloway Township Councilman Dennis Kleiner to the growing list of Republicans who are interested in succeeding New Jersey Assemblyman John Amodeo (R-2nd), should he leave the state Legislature and take a key senior executive position with the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
Kleiner now lives in Egg Harbor Township, which seems to be the main political terminal for elected officials in Atlantic County.
Kleiner is a great guy. He did a good job within the somewhat dysfunctional Galloway Township local government. However, because it is important to be realistic, it's not Kleiner's time to be considered a serious candidate at this level of state government.
All roads still lead to former Assemblyman Vince Polistina. He is the most experienced candidate and the most deserving. No one else in District 2 is in his league.
The Atlantic County Republicans have a lot of talented bench strength, but no one else rises to Polistina's caliber.
Something highly disturbing occurred last week. To call it a dirty trick, is a gross understatement. There was a vicious rumor – actually it was a bald-faced lie – that was perpetrated about Polistina. A desperate Republican political hack started a vicious lie that Polistina wasn't interested in returning to the New Jersey Legislature because of the recent passing of a close family member.
This contemptible provocateur should turn in his membership card to the human race, for conduct unbecoming of an Earthly being.
What a disgusting, reprehensible and desperate tactic. I have confirmed Polistina's interest, which is only in effect should Amodeo voluntarily leave his seat over the next few months.
This Republican troglodyte actually stooped so low as to spread this filth in Tampa, Fla., at the Republican National Convention, too. This is one of the ugliest political stunts I have ever chronicled.
I contacted Polistina about this vicious smear campaign and he respectfully declined to answer the question. Despite this, I have confirmed that it happened.
Polistina is not behaving like a stalking horse. His approach is mild mannered, professional and decent, as is always the case with Polistina.
I strongly believe that Polistina has already cleared the field, but the other interested candidates don't even know it yet.
Well placed sources have confirmed to me that Polistina has firmly secured the support of Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough. This is huge, because as Egg Harbor Township goes, so goes Atlantic County-wide nominations in many respects.
I think it is beyond question that Assemblyman Amodeo will be supporting Polistina. Atlantic County Freeholder Board Chairman Frank Formica and Maureen Bugdon will be supporting Polistina, along with a growing list of other key people.
We are currently living in very serious and challenging times. There is no time for on-the-job training. Polistina is an effective and accomplished state legislator.
Polistina was also very unselfish last year when he voluntarily gave up a nearly 100 percent secure Assembly seat to take on the Atlantic County Democrats’ top elected official in state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2nd). Sheer loyalty to a demonstrated Atlantic County Republican warrior should be afforded to Polistina.
I have spent the past 21 years studying politics at a finite level. Rarely do you have such a pre-qualified candidate who is tested and ready to go on Day 1.
Atlantic County Freeholder at Large John Risley is a very ambitious elected official. He's a gamer. He has run for school board, city council, freeholder, township committee, freeholder again, Assembly, freeholder again and Assembly, again.
Risley wins more than he loses, but this race is not a proper fit.
Polistina should be treated exactly like a sitting incumbent seeking re-election. He has earned that. He didn't lose his seat. He stepped up and did what few were willing to do. He ran a very competitive race against Whelan, where he elevated his name recognition and standing within District 2 in the process.
It's a natural fit. Polistina should receive the selection by acclimation. After he serves the remaining months of Amodeo's unexpired term, he and Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-2nd) will be poised to run together for re-election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2013.
However, never forget this important lesson: This is electoral politics. It ain't bean bag. It's a full contact, brutal sport, whereby dirty tricks are pulled even on the good guys.
Stay tuned, because this is Atlantic County Republican politics where the Democrats can't beat them; but, from time-to-time, they do a heck of a job turning on each another.
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