It's less than three weeks before Election Day. I strongly believe that it is the most important election in our lifetime.
Mitt Romney holds a small, but steady lead against Barack Obama.
United State Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ leads state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, R-13. This remains a very daunting task for Kyrillos, as New Jersey has not elected a Republican United States senator in 40 years.
United States Congressman Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd holds a commanding lead over challenger Cassandra Shober. LoBiondo enjoys a massive name recognition and fund-raising advantage, coupled with a demonstrated record of accomplishment.
Collin Bell appears to be the only Democrat who has a chance to break through at the Atlantic County level this year. But he is facing incumbent Freeholder at Large Frank Giordano, who happens to be one of the highest Republican vote-getters.
Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica, R-2nd, is running against Democrat newcomer Stephen Dicht. The composition of the 2nd District favors Formica more than it did three years ago.
Freeholder Jimmy Bertino, R-5th, is running against Erica Polito. Ditto. Bertino will hold his seat.
There is a very spirited race in Hamilton Township. Incumbent Republican Deputy Mayor Charles Cain and Democratic Committeeman Harvey Kessleman have voluntarily stepped aside after serving effectively and honestly for the past three years.
This leaves Republicans Bruce Strigh and David Wigglesworth versus Democrats Rodney Guishard and Judy Link. The races in Hamilton Township are typically very close. This is especially the case in a presidential election year.
There are also some interesting races to watch in Northfield. In the 2nd Ward, Republican nominee Jim Travagline defeated a Republican incumbent (Steven Vain) by 105 votes in the June primary.
Travagline will face Democrat Debbi Ranger Doherty in the general election on Nov. 6. Travagline appears poised to win the seat.
In a surprise move, Bob Zlotnick ran a stealth write-in campaign in the June primary. Republicans thought that they were giving long-time incumbent Democrat Frank Perri a free pass this November.
Zlotnick received more votes than would have been required on a candidate nominating petition and hence he earned his way onto the Nov. 6 ballot as the official Republican nominee.
Several sources have shared with me that the Northfield Republicans are "quietly" supporting Perri, who has consistently voted with the council members Jim O'Neill and Lisa Brown.
Perri is a former popular mayor and present council member.
Zlotnick is a well-known public figure as the chief executive officer of Atlantic Prevention Resources.
Have you noticed how "quiet" every race seems to be this year? First, it is a quieter-than-usual election season at the local, county and congressional levels.
The Romney-Obama race simply takes all of the oxygen out of the room for anything else to be noticed.
The incumbents love that it's a "quiet" election season. The challengers get frustrated by it.
But, each race is very different. Take the Hamilton Township race for two open seats. Strigh and Wigglesworth are running a very active campaign, featuring media and many public events with residents.
Guishard and Link are running a quieter race. They have many campaign signs throughout the township. But, they are not doing as much that can be seen by the public.
By Hamilton Township election standards, this is unusual. These races are usually fiercely contested and very loud in nature. Not this year. My hunch is that the Democrats are hoping to ride Obama's political coattails to victory.
This is a mistake in my eyes. First, it cheats the public out of a good honest debate. Second, Romney may well outperform Obama in Hamilton Township.
Hamilton Township voters want to see that the candidates really want it. You have to show them your heart and that you are in it for the right reasons.
The current Township Committee, both Republicans and Democrats, have earned a well deserved reputation for bi-partisanship. Because of this, they have accomplished a great deal over the past three years.
Great things are possible when you don't care who gets the credit. Mayor Roger Silva, Amy Gatto, Tom Palmentieri, Cain and Kessleman have served as a model for what local government can be.
During a Great Recession there has not been a local purpose tax increase in Hamilton Township for the past two years. How many cities/townships reading this can say that?
In the end although the presidential election is getting all of the attention, what happens at the local, county, state and congressional levels really does matter and we should be paying more attention to it.
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