Battleground Atlantic: Punchy Democrats push ahead without a clear vision

Battleground Atlantic: Punchy Democrats push ahead without a clear vision

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Schroeder (center) making Jim Whelan (left) proud as a peach.
Schroeder (center) making Whelen (left) proud as a peach. (via Facebook)

We all lived through Election 2013, Save Jerseyans. I’m not sure whether small inconveniences like “issues” will matter in 2015’s legislative battlegrounds if Democrat Super PACs perform as expected in the weeks ahead.

The good news for Republicans in South Jersey’s LD1 and LD2? Their Democrat opponents are quintessential empty suits; they make Lou Greenwald’s look filled out.

The LD1 Democrats can’t even be located. Their GOP opponents have taken to carrying around cardboard cutouts of them to avoid feeling lonely on the ballot.

This glaring substance gap is no less apparent in LD2. In fact, it’s somewhat magnified by the presence of a spirited county executive challenge from Democrat Jim Schroeder (not the #whiteoutgate guy) in a legislative district that’s completely contained in Atlantic County where Chris Brown (R) and Vince Mazzeo (D) are fighting for both survival and the right to bring their respective running mates to Trenton in January.

I’ll grant that Mr. Schroeder, an attorney, is a colorful guy. “Mike Tyson says everybody has a plan until you get punched in the mouth,” he said during an appearance last week at JD’s Pub in Smithville. “Folks, this county has gotten punched in the mouth and it’s time for us to stop doing things the way they were, stopping dealing with things in the way they were and begin to look at things differently.”

We won’t get into the “who” punched whom question here; suffice it to say, I’m still waiting for someone in the Atlantic County Democrat organization, dominated by State Senator Jim Whelan, precisely how they plan to punch back? Assuming that is the plan? And last week’s AFL-CIO fundraiser doesn’t count, boys!

atlantic citySchroeder is talking a lot about ameliorating foreclosures and little else. What does he endeavor to do differently than incumbent Dennis Levinson to keep people working and therefore out of the foreclosure process in the first place? I couldn’t tell you. We haven’t heard, and Labor Day is upon us.

Assemblyman Mazzeo and his Democrat running mate, Freeholder Colin Bell, are no better in their increasingly ugly contest with Brown and running mate Will Pauls, a sitting freeholder like Bell.

Believe it or not, Mazzeo infamously went on record saying he’s “over it,” and “so be it,” where the North Jersey casino expansion question is concerned. I’m a free market guy, so despite the callousness and shallowness of his responses, I’ll set’em aside for a moment (along with the fact that he’s clearly lying, having later claimed to have opposed the expansion plan all along). What’s his plan for an ALTERNATIVE future for Atlantic County’s workforce? Other than an aborted double-digit property tax hike plan for county residents who, as Mr. Schroeder points out from his perch further down the ballot, are having trouble holding on to their homes?

Again… silence.

So Democrats might just make magic happen this year in GOP-dominated Atlantic County. They’ve got overall voter registration and Super PAC cash on their side. But if they do have a good year, Save Jerseyans, it won’t have had anything to do with winning the battle of ideas. In that fight they’re completely unarmed. Even Iron Mike in his prime wouldn’t relish those odds.

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