I have always said that election night is my Super Bowl. It is unfortunate, however, that my team, the New Jersey Republicans, have lost badly in previous years.
Many Republicans have said that this year is one for the GOP. I certainly believe this year was promising, but I am not too convinced that it was necessarily a Republican year.
One of the biggest victories for Republicans was the net gain of two Assembly seats. It is nice to see energetic Republicans like Jay Webber, Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande enter the Assembly, but the Assembly make up is still only 48-32, Democrat and Republican, respectively. This is not something to brag about, especially since New Jersey Republicans have not picked up an Assembly seat since 1991.
I would be hailing this as a major victory if it were not for the net loss of a state Senate seat. Trust me when I say that the Democrats are more than willing to trade two Assembly seats for one additional Senate seat. With a 23-17 make up in the state Senate (Democrat and Republican respectively), where each seat is critical to partisan voting, a gained seat is highly desired.
Since the Assembly is still dominated by Democrats, Republicans will still find it difficult to deflect fiscal irresponsibility the donkeys are guaranteed to promote. In gaining this extra seat, they made digs into southern districts that really should not be kind to Democrats.
In the second legislative district, former incumbent Republican state Sen. Sonny McCullough got knocked off by Democrat Assemblyman Jim Whelan. In the first legislative district, Democratic Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew destroyed former state Sen. Nick Asselta. The fact that these two could even be targeted shows how ineffective they were, as well as the state’s Republican Party, which should have played a more active role in getting candidates elected.
While I was genuinely upset that some good candidates like Bob Martin, Republican state Senate candidate in the leftist safe haven of the 15th legislative district, did not get elected, I was just overall upset with the lack of gains Republicans made in the legislature. However, I must admit, there were a few good things for Republicans in this election.
Quite possibly the most telling was the defeat of two ballot questions. The state’s electorate saw through the Democrats’ malarkey in bankrupting our state even further than they already have.
Voters rejected devoting half a penny to relieve property taxes, which is a bogus, election gimmick that does not conquer New Jersey’s deep property tax problem. They also denied the governor’s $450 million stem-cell research idea – another victory for conservatives! I must say, I was floored by this question’s results.
The results of these ballot initiatives are a major blow to the governor’s immediate post-election agenda. It is also a sign that a majority of voters are sick and tired of the Democrats’ reckless spending and disastrous leadership. It is not because of low voter turnout, as the governor claims.
If the theory that all politics is local is correct, which I believe it is, the GOP is on the right course. Republicans picked up some big mayoral seats, including those in Brick, Toms River, Rutherford and Hamilton. Unknown to the average Garden State citizen, Republicans state-wide narrowed their losses in comparison to 2003. Some Republican candidates may not have won, but it does not mean they will not in 2011. It is very plausible that the Democrats’ iron grip is loosening.
Lastly, in the GOP’s greatest victory on Nov. 6, progressive state Sen. Ellen Karcher, from the 12th legislative district, was demolished in the polls, resulting in the first Republican to pick off a Democratic state Senator in 10 years. Sen. Jennifer Beck has a nice ring to it. It should be noted that more women now serve in New Jersey government than ever before.
My post-election analysis could be much more extensive, but for the sake of room, these were the highs and lows from a Republican’s perspective. While this was not a grand GOP year, it definitely shows many promising things for Republican legislators in the future. Now, if we can only get a Republican in the governorship.