I am sure you have been inundated with junk mail regarding the NJ Primary Election being held on Tuesday, June 6th. The sad news is bullet points never provide the full story about a candidate. However, you know the importance of your vote and I know you see it as a responsibility.
This election, like all elections is important. Whatever party you are affiliated with, you get to choose the candidate who will run under the party banner in November. If you are registered undeclared you can go to the polls but you must choose to declare yourself and vote Republican or Democrat. You cannot vote in the primary election if you choose to stay independent. However, if you wish, you can change your affiliation back to undeclared after the election. Some may give you misinformation on this. Unlike some other states with closed primaries, voters in NJ who are unaffiliated with any political party can declare either Republican or Democrat on the day of the primary and vote.
There are many choices for important offices. It does not happen often when NJ is voting for entire state executive and legislative branches of government. The candidates who run will choose to stay the course or shift into something new. In many counties we are also voting for County Freeholders. In many towns there are local races as well. Again, be reminded you are voting in the Primary – you are voting the candidate you want to run under the banner of Republican or Democrat party. In the general election other parties may also run candidates but we do not choose the candidates for those parties. There may also be individuals who choose to run independent of a party affiliation.
If you do not know the candidates it is work to learn about them. It means visiting websites and perhaps even writing to them to find out their positions on issues that are important to you. If they are incumbents you can check their voting records. That too takes time. To check state legislature incumbents go to http://www.njleg.state.nj.us. There is a wealth of information on that site.
I will share with you some of what I have learned about the candidates for Governor. I hope what I have gathered is true. Over the years I have learned that candidates can change their positions between the primary and the general election. They can also change their positions after they are election. That is why it is so important to pray and seek Holy Spirit to direct you.
I will only address the office of Governor. The number of candidates for the other offices are just far too many. The information I share came from various sources some of which include www.nj.com, The Washington Times, and the candidates themselves.
DEMOCRATS running to be the DEMOCRAT candidate for Governor:
Bill Brennan — a community activist and former Teaneck firefighter; Has a law degree who earned recognition by bringing a citizens complaint against Christie. Brennan alleged Christie violated the state’s official misconduct law by failing to reopen the George Washington Bridge during the 2013 lane-closure scandal. Brennan’s case fizzled after the county prosecutor declined to pursue the suit.
Jim Johnson — a former U.S. treasury official under then-President Bill Clinton, an attorney, a former federal prosecutor in New York and Clinton administration Treasury official. His campaign has gained some traction, qualifying for public matching funds. He’s gotten about $900,000 in matching funds so far, according to state election officials.
Raymond Lesniak — A veteran attorney, a long-time state senator and attorney whose base of support is mostly in Union County, which he’s represented in the Legislature for nearly four decades.
Phil Murphy — a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, a former finance chair of the Democratic National Committee, and a former Goldman Sachs banking executive, the leading Democratic candidate, served as Barack Obama’s ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013 and earned a fortune as an executive at Goldman Sachs. He was also the Democratic National Committee Finance chairman under Howard Dean. He’s earned the backing of influential county party officials, unions and elected officials and pledged $10 million of his own money to the campaign.
John Wisniewski — a member of the state Assembly from Middlesex County who has served in the state Legislature for more than 20 years, a veteran attorney, and a former state Democratic Party chair, Co-chaired the Legislature’s investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal. Wisniewski was U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign chairman in last year’s primary and is aiming to capture Sanders’ supporters in the primary. He has also qualified for public funds by reaching the $430,000 threshold.
Mark Zinna — president of the Tenafly borough council, a councilman since 2012, and owner of a small business that manages data for law firms. His campaign is focusing on what he calls the corrupt political system and is calling for open primaries, in which the state’s millions of unaffiliated voters could participate. Currently only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in the primary.
REPUBLICAN – running to be the REPUBLICAN candidate for Governor:
Jack Ciattarelli: Ciattarelli, a certified public accountant who owns a medical publishing company, has served in the Assembly since 2012. He qualified for public matching funds and has won the influential county party line in several places, including Burlington, Essex and Somerset. He has said he will not support funding Planned Parenthood. Position on the gas tax is confusing.
Kim Guadagno: Guadagno has served as Christie’s lieutenant governor – the first in state history – since winning election in 2009. She is the party’s front-runner, racking up key endorsements and winning the party line in the state’s GOP hotbeds in Monmouth and Ocean counties. She gained a reputation as the administration’s ambassador to the business world. She also has qualified for public funds and has received more than $800,000, according to state election officials. She is pro-choice but will not support fully funding Planned Parenthood.
Steven Rogers: Rogers is a commissioner in Nutley and a stout supporter of President Donald Trump, unlike Ciattarelli and Guadagno. He also regularly appeared on Fox News as a commentator, a retired Nutley police officer, a former U.S. military official,
Joseph Rullo: Rullo owns a landscaping business in Ocean County and is also a Trump supporter. Echoing Trump’s drain-the swamp pledge, Rullo adopted “Drain the Swamp in Trenton” as his official ballot slogan. I read that he is an actor but was not able to support that. He reports that he is pro-life and will not fund planned parenthood. He is pro-second amendment and he does not support legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
Hirsh Singh: Singh is an engineer and Egg Harbor Township native who has embraced some of Christie’s policies, including his proposal to spend an equal amount of state aid per student, which would mean a reduction for poorer districts. He is an Atlantic County native who is an executive in the aerospace and defense industry. He reports that he is pro-life in that he supports a law in NJ to end abortion at 20 weeks gestation. He feels that law can get through the challenge that would come in light of Roe vs Wade. He will not support funding planned parenthood. He does support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Hope this helps as you process your choice under the guidance of Holy Spirit.