Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shulman Wins

Dennis Shulman has won the primary to take on Representative Scott Garrett in the fall. As of this writing, Shulman is winning 60% of the vote.

I took the opportunity to check out the Shulman headquarters. I was very impressed with not only the local support, but the national interest in this race. There is a definite sense of family among his staff, among other things they sang Happy Birthday to a volunteer who put in something like a 14 hour day at that point.

I was able to speak with Shulman for a little bit about the race. The excellent sense of humor he has a reputation for is well earned. He is very genuine, which if enough people get to meet him should help against Garrett.

It should be very interesting to see how this race plays out. I'll post any official statements from Shulman, Camille Abate or Garrett should they become available.

Let the games begin. Yippee.


Jill said...

I'm sure his netroots support didn't hurt either. He was targeted for support by Blue America PAC, which is the brainchild of Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and Howie Klein of Down with Tyranny.

On a less positive note, apparently Frank Lautenberg's campaigns did door cards exhorting people to vote down line 4....which means that the pay-to-play hacks of the BCDO no doubt won right down the line.

rmfretz said...

Good point about the netroots.

That's very unfortunate about the Real Bergen Dems. I kind of wish the County Clerk's office would step into 2008 and stream the results. In this day and age there's no excuse for us not to know as they know.

Anonymous said...

As of now, Shulman has my support. I'll see what goes on, at the very most I'll tank my vote if I feel Shulman goes too far left.

Garrett deserves to lose though..

Jill said...

Shulman needs to get out there and meet as many people in person as he can. I haven't met him, but I'm told he's a pretty engaging guy. In fact, Matt, YOU told us. :)

What he's going to need to be is strong -- strong enough to fight back if he gains enough traction for Garrett to attack. Strong enough to pull aside the curtain from the wingnuttia of Garrett's views that have been largely hidden from his constituents. and yes, out there in West Alabama, NJ where Garrett comes from, he's going to have to overcome being not just a Jew but a rabbi.

It's a tall order. I hope he can pull this off. We deserve better in this district than we've gotten -- but we also need a population that shows the heck up at the polls. One thing I found in my own little campaign this year is that in this county, people are too busy tailgating Corollas in their SUVs to pay attention to political decisions that affect their lives. My town had 8% turnout yesterday. That's not eighty, that's eight. Pathetic.

TJ Helm said...

Thanks for coming by Shulman HQ!!! Great to meet you!

rmfretz said...

Thanks, TJ. Nice to meet you as well.

To Jill's point, I got the sense from the campaign they held back a bit out of respect for Camille and a desire not to slam a fellow Democrat. One person told me the gloves are off now.

Jim Sekelsky said...

Sussex County and Garrett

We need to find the point of the voting populace that lies between the right and the moderate middle. We have to wedge a desirable message, an inviting picture, and expose the distance the far right (Garrett's Base) is from the wants and needs of the middle. I hope we can go after new votes: the dems are going to vote dem and I feel it is worth the merit to study how much we can risk upsetting the far left to gather the votes of the middle. Tough call, but I think its real.
Scott Garrett never served his country -- he doesn't own that position. I was the keynote speaker for our county's Veteran's Day ceremony and was accompanied by a wounded Marine (Iraq) from the county. Scott Garrett was supposed to sit on the dais next to us -- he just glad-handed and remained aloof.

I'm not sure that the national democratic message transfers well in the Northwest of the district. Besides the large republican presence, many people move to Sussex County to get away from the suburbs -- they want to feel THEY CARRY THEIR OWN WEIGHT. That is a value that I hope we pick up on and can weave into our message. I believe a large portion of the voters, from the right through the middle want to hear that. I believe the basic person up here might recognize with a message coming from a democrat that wants him/her/them to feel VALUE Representation. ie. Loyalty, Honestly, Integrity, and Courage. We need to find/reach out to people who have struggled to maintain their values and forsake something more simple or promising: in their successful struggle they labored to carry their own weight and their reward is that feeling of value.

To win in 2008, in the 5th... well, we should consider how to tackle the following issues.

The finance team has to lead out of the gates. Early support from the state dems, as money will be tight due to the presidential cycle.
Politics -- the ability to have some movers & shakers appear with the candidate is good. Due to the remoteness of Sussex/Warren parts of district (oh, and their Republican lean), some "star" appeal has be woven into the campaign. Bottom line, more than just our suburban NJ Dems have to come into Sussex County to shake things up a bit.
A democrat will not win the "middle vote" in Sussex County by spouting the national democratic stance/platform. As I said earlier, we need to reflect back the values that people have worked for -- that "carry your own weight" theme -- the though in Sussex County is that too much tax money flows from the 5th, within the state, and not enough back.

What Garrett has done or not done in DC won't "ring the big gong" here. Folks in Sussex County feel they carry their own weight and want something for it.
Advocates from Sussex and Warren Counties going against Garrett would have an effect. I personally was serving in Iraq with Mississippi's largest combat National Guard Brigade, serving with Miss. former govenor's son "Waller", and flew out of Biloxi on the coast when Rep. Garrett voted "no" on the Katrina Aid. Here we were struggling to get these kids home on one hand and consoling families who had just been through the huricane stateside about their son being wounded in Iraq-- I was absolutely ashamed and told folks that I didn't live in Garrett's district. Has Congressman Garrett served his country? Good question hah? I was the Keynote speaker at Sussex County's recent Veteran's Day ceremony where Garrett was supposed to be seated next to me and a wounded Marine -- he never came by, he was glad-handing, and his eyes, body, and whole mood were moving onto someone else when we did meet. Did Congress Garrett take the time to personally thank returning Veterans from his district, from his county, at an event he personally attended to honor those very veterans? No. Now he had planned these "veteran" events during his campaign -- where were they two years ago when it was more needed but worth less politically?
Dennis Shulman has to win the hearts and minds of the voters in Sussex, Bergen and Warren. He has to show they he is compassionate enough to relate to common folk and has the ability to weave their pride into values that guide his decisions; moreover, has the simple understanding that those values are true and the same as most folks in the 5th -- that's a weight that we need to help Dennis carry.

Dennis is right-on in his assessment of Iraq measures. If we've learned one thing is that civilian over-ride and conveniant disregard of the facts got us deeper into Iraq going in, then how and why would we want to employ that same complacency by blabbing "an immediate withdrawal, period" when coming out? There is no applicable playbook that lays out a "suicide squeeze bunt" -- the Iraq we knew and the America we knew six years ago are history: employing an immediate withdrawal plan will not miraculously deliver back six years of change that we can then remotely, virtually, and vicariously re-live. I lived then, I fought when asked, and right now I looking forward to the future.

I simply for Dennis Shulman!
Jim Sekelsky
Mayor, Ogdensburg

Jill said...

Well, I'm not crazy about the implication that the rest of us in the district are somehow "welfare queens" (i.e. don't "carry our own weight"), but I'm choosing to interpret your words as meaning the distance between what we in NJ pay into the Federal system vs. what we get back -- and about how Garrett is more concerned with fostering his ideology and cementing his cred with wingnut interest groups than about representing his district. I've long felt that the candidate who can successfully point this out is the candidate who will wrest this district away from Mr. Garrett.

Jim Sekelsky said...


What I'm saying is that we need to approach this intellectually and not emotionally; therefore, your reference to Sussex County as "West Alabama, NJ" and your focus on labeling and demonizing Garrett are two manifestations of behavior that will gain no political favor in Sussex County. Paul Aronsohn lost by about 11,000 votes in Sussex (check the numbers??) -- so we need to win those votes. Pointing out negatives "successfully" will not highlight the positives of Dennis Shulman.

We need to find those areas where we ALL almost agree, then figure out what makes our vision better -- that's going to be the tough part. The "BFO's" (blinding flashes of the obvious) about what S. Garrett has and has not done will always be there. And this is why I propose that we look at simple values -- those same simple values we ALL share; moreover, those same values that might ring true to a hard-working person living in the Nwestern part of the 5th. I think you'll find that some people in Sussex County might agree with you and many more will listen to reason; however, once you've made your point that a basic Democrat doesn't agree with most of Garrett's votes, then LEAD them on to Dennis' vision.

Don't focus or worry about the fanatic right -- lets hit the middle.