With the formal openings of local campaign headquarters for both parties within days of each other, more attention is being drawn to the upcoming November elections.
Labor Day morning saw the opening of “Woodbridge for Mayor” headquarters at 162 Nassau Street. Princeton Democratic Campaign Headquarters will open nearby at 217 Nassau Street (rear building) on Sunday, September 9, from 5 to 7 p.m.
In addition to mayoral hopeful Richard Woodbridge, the single Republican candidate for Council, Geoff Aton, was present at the Monday event. News of the opening had gone out just a day before, and Mr. Woodbridge estimated that between 80 and 90 people showed up. “Not bad for a last minute event,” he observed. Orange balloons with the candidates’ names marked the entrance to the headquarters, where area Republicans posed for photographs and offered some informal comments. Upstairs, banks of telephones were at the ready.
Mr. Woodbridge emphasized the “non-partisan” nature of his campaign, a theme picked up by Irv Urken who noted the “mixed bag of people” in attendance. “We’re working together,” he observed. “It’s not about Republicans and Democrats.”
“Our special interest is you,” added District 16 Assemblywoman Donna Simon, indicating those who were there listening, referring, perhaps, to an earlier message in which she cited “Trenton Democrats and well-funded special interest groups [who] have already targeted me for defeat.
“These groups have promised to spend whatever is necessary to take our Republican seat away and upend Governor Christie’s hard-fought victories to make New Jersey a better, more affordable place to live, work, and raise a family,” she added.
Asked later to comment about the recent Republican convention, Mr. Woodbridge suggested that “the national election is not generally relevant to potholes and local issues.” He added, however, that “how Congress deals with the ‘fiscal cliff’ could be highly relevant at the local level because it may affect money the state gets and the towns and the institutions also get.”
“I am certain that after both conventions are finished I will still feel the same way; I am not a huge fan of either candidate,” commented Mr. Aton. “I pride myself on being very centered and moderate when it comes to politics. When leaders move toward the far left or right I believe the focus becomes more about ideals and grandstanding than about simply serving the people who elected them.
“This is exactly what I will bring to Princeton Council,” he added. “I want to serve a town I love for the benefit of our entire community with no hidden agenda.”
In a separate conversation, Mercer County Republican Committee Chair Rich Levesque spoke of the Republican convention as providing “a great week for Republicans throughout the country.” Mr. Levesque lauded Governor Christie’s convention speech, noting that it “focused on leadership … and made a tremendous push to elect Governor Mitt Romney to be our next president.”
Democratic mayoral candidate Liz Lempert and Council candidates Jo Butler, Jenny Crumiller, Heather Howard, Lance Liverman, Bernie Miller, and Patrick Simon will kick off their campaign this coming weekend. On Saturday, September 8, Representative Rush Holt will join them for a wine and cheese reception at the home of Lisa Fischetti from 4 to 6 p.m., with campaign headquarters opening the following day.
“Democrats pursued consolidation and are implementing a smooth transition,” Mr. Miller noted recently. “We’re well prepared to manage the new Princeton.”
For details on the Saturday reception, email campaign @princetondems.org or call (609) 301-0842.