By now you know we lost the race to elect New Jersey’s one and only independent legislator, but I hope you will join me in feeling like a winner in every other respect. Over nine thousand voters deliberately sought and voted for me. Every vote was a hard-won departure from the party line.
We ran for five months on overdrive “running the other way” to challenge the polarized, paralyzed political system. Obstacles were enormous – Christie’s coattails, unaffiliated voters’ off-year apathy, Democrats’ despondence and systemic biases against independents. We were undeterred.
You deserve thanks and credit for countless hours and $60,000 raised by over 300 donors and volunteers. We had no party money, no PAC money, no paid foot-soldiers. Yes, we matched Mr. Carroll’s typical fundraising but his slate-mates add another $200,000 to their average race. In 2003 they anted up $620,000. We had just a tenth of the funds we needed and so I decided to work that much harder to raise awareness of our independent approach.
Campaigning in twenty-two towns I met ten thousand people and enjoyed an incredibly warm response. Nearly all were intrigued, most were appreciative and many told me they felt reassured and inspired by our efforts. Right through polling hours and into today, new supporters are asking how they can pitch in.
Experience has taught me that Election Day 2013 was just one phase of an essential mission. In 2005 Scott Whitenack, our independent candidate for mayor of Morristown, earned 40% of the vote in a 3-way race. We used that as a launching pad and year by year, we succeeded in changing the political culture, built environment and economic vitality of our County seat. Now that we have almost nine thousand independent supporters around the 25th District, our possibilities are even greater.
Congratulations on a job well done – and just begun!