Let’s begin

11 Nov 2013, Posted by admin in executive director

My first blog on the reconstituted NJFB web site will have a few comments about the 2013 elections, but first a word about this and future posts.

I am encouraged by my colleagues Jim Reilly and Liz Thompson to produce the blog, which I look forward to doing. It was largely their work that has transformed the web site, and I am flattered to be included in the delivery of information that will go out to Farm Bureau members and visitors to the site.

My topics will be an extension of what we do at NJFB on a routine basis… chiefly through our publications (one of which I compose and the other I help edit) as well as communications over the phone, at meetings and in traveling around the state. All of it will be within the established Farm Bureau perspective and policies, so don’t expect “dissenting voices” -type commentary. Rather, it will be a way for me to lend some thoughts and ideas on what is behind and what goes on in farming and politics in the state and elsewhere. Enough said.

These elections that just passed deserve close scrutiny for a few things… our Gov. Christie is re-elected with his unique style of conservative pragmatism. This is such a welcome development for stakeholder groups (people who own assets and run businesses) in a blue state like ours. He has the courage to say no to things other politicians would just accept. But I worry this will not last four years, or even two where we will have his full energy. Wrapping around NJ issues is one thing, but the US of A is whole different question.

The other aspect of these elections… the legislative races… was a stunning indicator of the power of the redistricting map. Coattails ? Try… the total number of state residents voting for Republican senate candidates exceeded their Democratic rivals by upwards of 100,000. Why did not one of the challengers win ? Assemblyman John Bramnick said his estimate is $25 million was spent by PAC groups on re-electing incumbent majority legislators, which dwarfed his guys in the minority. That map and money advantage was too much to overcome and create competitive races. Some say majority legislators got money that ordinarily would have gone to the governor’s opponent.

Shed no tears for the Republicans, whose top of the ticket scored lots of political donations as well . My point is… do not expect much change in the composition of the Legislature until they draw a new map in 2020. If a charmer with cross-party appeal like Christie wins by 22 points and he can’t bring along his party friends, how can challengers in the future win on their own?