If attacking your opponent’s strength represents a legitimate path to victory, Save Jerseyans, then Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles may still have a chance to upset incumbent Jim Whelan in this year’s LD2 state senate race.
“It wasn’t so long ago that Senator Whelan was boldly calling for former Mayor Bob Levy to resign when he went missing,” Balles said in his latest press release attacking Whelan for failing to criticize Mayor Lorenzo Langford’s stewardship of Atlantic City (did you follow that?). “He had the guts to say the right thing then, why won’t he be consistent and stand up to his own running mate, Mayor Lorenzo Langford, now? I think we all know the answer. Senator Whelan unfortunately is putting his own Democratic Party and his own reelection ahead of what’s best for our region.”
The Balles campaign stayed away from “negative” or “contrast” campaigning until the very end; for the final few weeks in the run up to November 5th, they’ve made the unpopular Langford a fixture of the campaign.
Whelan served as mayor of the legendary Jersey Shore resort from 1990 to 2001; he had been a councilman since 1982 before ascending to the city’s top spot. Many veteran politicos familiar with LD2 political dynamics will tell you that Whelan is remembered by voters as the last “good” mayor of A.C., which translated means “he wasn’t corrupt.” They firmly believe it contributes to his persistent popularity despite tough challenges from the Republican county organization which controls virtually every other major office.
The only public poll released in LD2 showed Whelan leading Balles by 21 points despite a double-digit Christie lead in Atlantic County.