Decision 2012 is basically four weeks away and it appears that hardly anyone is paying attention to the United States Senate, congressional and county races.
The reason for this is because the race for president is taking all of the oxygen out of the room, as this is the most important national election of our lifetime.
But there will be many other key races on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, with consequential implications.
The voters of New Jersey will select a United States senator for the next six years. The choices are the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Robert Menendez; and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, a Republican representing the 13th District in the Legislature.
Last week we outlined the fact that a New Jersey Republican has not won a United States Senate seat since Clifford Case in 1972. That's 40 years. We're talking about two generations and the beginning of a third generation.
Kyrillos is the better man at every turn. Yet, this dark blue liberal state of New Jersey continues to return any Democrat on the ballot to this seat. It's tragic to witness this mindless process repeat itself again and again – like the movie “Groundhog Day.”
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) is facing an almost invisible challenger in Cassandra Shober. Shober's effort to date is so insignificant that LoBiondo will not even debate her once.
The public typically deserves an honest debate – at least one. But what makes for bad public policy in the minds of some critics, on this occasion results in good electoral politics.
Why should LoBiondo provide an even-footing platform for his opponent when, I believe, 80 percent or more of District 2 doesn't even know who the Democratic nominee is this election cycle?
It's not LoBiondo's job to help promote his challenger, whose name you've probably already forgotten.
LoBiondo will win with 60 to 65 percent of the vote, proving that the Democratic candidate automatically receives 30 to 35 percent just for being on the ballot.
The Atlantic County Freeholder races are some of the biggest snores in more than 30 years. These races can be highly competitive. Democrats have broken through several times over the years. Tom Foley, Alisa Cooper, Jim Schroeder, Jim Carney, Ed McGettigan and other Democrats have won at the county level.
If I didn't mention the names here this week, probably 80 percent of Atlantic County wouldn't know the names of the Democrats running for freeholder this year.
That's crazy. How can this be? How can the Democrats allow this, especially in a presidential election year?
Frank Giordano, the incumbent Republican Freeholder at large, is running against Colin Bell. Bell ran in the previous election cycle. He is the closest example of a viable Democrat running at the county level this year. Bell has the potential to win a county seat one day. He's a good guy, works hard and is not afraid of the political fight.
Bell's problem this year is that he's running against one of the most consistent high vote-getters in Giordano. If not for this, Bell could have broken through this year. It's a presidential election year, which is always good for the Atlantic County Democrats with the heavy monolithic voting that takes place in Atlantic City and Pleasantville.
If the turnout in these two Democrat strongholds is heavy for Obama, Bell could win the seat. Giordano will have to work very hard for the next month. He will come out of Atlantic City and Pleasantville trailing by many thousands of votes.
Giordano will then have to painstakingly catch-up in the remaining 21 municipalities and hope that he doesn't run out of time.
No other Democrat will win in the remaining freeholder races.
Atlantic County Freeholder Board Chairman Frank Formica is in the strongest position. His District 2 seat became even more favorable for him after redistricting. His opponent is Stephen Dicht.
Formica never takes anything for granted and he will work like he's 20 points behind. In the end, this race will not be close.
Finally, there's 5th District Freeholder Jimmy Bertino, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet in this dirty game called electoral politics. His opponent is Erica Polito. Had Sam Mento run, he would have given Bertino a fierce battle and a close race.
A local race to watch this year is the two seats open on Hamilton Township Committee. Republican Deputy Mayor Charles Cain and Democratic Committeeman Harvey Kesselman both decided not to run for re-election. Republicans Bruce Strigh (former mayor) and Dave Wigglesworth will face-off against Rodney Guishard and Judy Link. The Obama-Romney factor could decide this one.
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