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Republican Candidates Think They Have a Good Chance in November

Republican mayor candidate Christopher Struben and his team of council candidates say they are a good bet to win on Election Day against Mayor McCormac and the Democrat incumbents.

After witnessing Republican Bob Turner win in former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's traditionally Democratic district in New York City, Republican mayoral candidate Christopher Struben firmly believes “the tides are turning.” 

"Woodbridge is similar to Turner’s new district because, like there, for every registered Republican, there are three Democrats," he said.

With November township elections less than six weeks away, the Republican candidates for mayor and town council argue that it is time for a change in Woodbridge. 

Struben, along with his council at-large candidates Eduardo Ascolese, Walter Kaczmarek, Jr., and Debra Reinhart held a 'meet and greet' event at a wine tasting fundraiser at on Route 1 in Iselin last week.

The four candidates claim to be the first primary challengers to win the GOP line for election in the history of Woodbridge. They triumphed, in a , over Councilman Bob Luban and most of his council slate. However, one of Luban's council running mates, Susan Boros, attained a majority to make it onto the Republican line with the Struben slate for the November election.

Boros was not present at the Struben fundraiser.

Struben, a former municipal prosecutor who has a law practice in Woodbridge, criticized Mayor John McCormac, the Democratic incumbent.

"McCormac doesn't listen to the people," the Republican mayoral candidate said. "With rising taxes and fewer jobs, McCormac has done the opposite of what needs to be done in these tough economic times." 

McCormac is running for reelection with at-large council members James Carroll, Gregg Ficarra, and Brenda Yori Velasco. Kyle Anderson, who was appointed to his at-large seat, is also running for a first time election, as is Michele Charmello, who was appointed to represent the third ward.

All are Democrats.

The Republican candidates say that McCormac and his staff do not try to help the community and rush through meetings without welcoming new ideas.

The mayor has not returned phone calls from Woodbridge Patch, seeking his reaction to his opponent's criticism.

“We have new and innovative ideas,” Reinhart countered. “We’re putting our names where our mouths are. The people thought we had a better vision to run this town.”

Giving back to the community is a key component of the Republican slate's platform, Struben said. As an example, they are pledging to waive their own eligibility for municipal pensions, if they are elected.

"Honesty and integrity are key components to being a successful mayor," Struben said. 

The mayoral candidate also criticized one of the township's municipal court judges, Spencer Robbins, who was admonished by the Middlesex County Board of Elections when it was discovered he had been voting in Woodbridge for years, while legally residing in Chatham.

"After finding out in June that Municipal Judge Spencer Robbins voted illegally in Woodbridge, he should have been fired," Struben said. "But the mayor refused to fire him, and that is wrong."

Both McCormac and the council have said publically that they cannot legally do anything about Robbins' judgeship. The matter, they said, resides with a state judicial ethics panel in Trenton, which has not yet come to a decision about what action, if any, they will take.

Struben also took issue with Robbins' financial interest in a local bank. 

"Any elected official in New Jersey cannot own a business that profits from members in the community; however, Robbins has an ownership stake in Allegiance Bank," he said.

The bank is right across the street from Town Hall where Robbins sits on the municipal bench. Robbins is listed on the bank's board of directors in their prospectus.

"It's a violation of the township's Conflict of Interest Ordinance because the bank maintains township and Board of Education accounts in excess of $16 million," Struben said.

Robbins has not returned phone calls for reaction to Stuben's criticism.

The Republican slate also said they'd would like to change the Board of Education from an elected body to an appointed one.  

“It gives us responsibility to appoint the school board,” Ascolese said. “We’re held accountable. We want full responsibility for taxpayers’ money.”

They also have the township's Fire Departments on their agenda. Instead of having nine fire chiefs for nine firehouses, it should be consolidate into one chief position, Struben said, and there should be more paid firefighters.

Nora Brower, a resident of Woodbridge, is a volunteer for the Republican candidates. She said taxes are a huge concern and continue to increase while the mayor continues to spend money. 

"With the economy declining, people losing jobs and many people in debt, [the township] need a new regime," she said.

slyfox1961 September 23, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Funny how they don't mention that Debra Reinhart's life long ambition is to collect a public paycheck, in addition to the public assistance she probably already recieves. Not my idea of a conservative republican. Did Ed Ascolese mention that he wants to reduce Woodbridge's sales tax to 3%? Did they mention that they alienated the entire local republican committee, and several of their own campaign managers with their antics? Move the school board under the mayor's control? Isn't the republican ideal to reduce the size of government, not increase it? These people are not a good group of people to hold office, and they will not be getting my vote.
Janet Gage September 23, 2011 at 08:51 PM
No wonder this person is called slyfox. Everything slyfox said about this campaign is dead wrong, except for the school board item. The remaining pack of lies is a painfully obvious case of sour grapes...or sour mash.
slyfox1961 September 24, 2011 at 02:36 PM
I'm wrong? Read her resume, its posted on their campaign website. "Career Objective: A single mother of six returning to the work force to continue a professional career, seeking a position in a New Jersey State government agency or mid-management position in a major corporation." AS for the campaign mangagers, ask around.
Janet Gage September 26, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Now I know it's a case of sour mash. Only a drunk would back up an incorrect assertion with a statement of fact that proves him or herself wrong. And what's with the fixation on Debbie? Maybe it is sour grapes after all. Oh, and as for the campaign "managers" I took your advice and asked around town, and as it turns out, you have it backward. The local "Republican" committee has alienated everyone in town. And there has been no change in the campaign's management. I don't know what's blinding you, booze or jealousy, but you really need to get a grip on reality before posting online. Get help.
slyfox1961 September 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Really? Your attempt at spin is not really that good. Neither are your personal attacks at me as a way to deflect the truth. The local WTRO has nothing to do with the campaign managers of the Streuben campaign. They kicked Gloria Nesbett, a campaign manager, to the curb. Streuben and the DelMundos are out of control, and none of them are capable of governing the town. They are an embarrassment to the conservative cause, and are nothing but a bunch of opportunists. You are the one who needs to get a grip on reality, and fact check before you post. I listed their own web site as proof, and now the names. How could you possibly try to spin that and expect to get away with it?
Janet Gage September 27, 2011 at 04:12 AM
Of course it's not good. Because I'm giving you facts, not spin. You just think it's spin cuz it doesn't fit with your snippy little gossip column fantasy. You crack me up, accusing me of a personal attacks when you've done nothing but make personal attacks since your first post. I said you must be blinded by booze or jealousy to say these thing - -- would you prefer I blame your illogic on pure stupidity? ....However, let's continue to assume intoxication of some sort, because you continue to be provably wrong. My comment never said the WTRO managed the Streuben campaign. It said they're the ones who alienated everyone in town. Go look. Besides the "Republicans" aren't capable of managing a meeting, much less a real campaign. It's so painfully obvious you started with a conclusion and just found items that seemed to fit your jealous little rage...until someone pointed out how they don't back you up. What's that jealousy about, hmm? That these folks worked hard to get on the ballot while you....did what exactly? What have you done for the "conservative cause" that is SOOOO monumental that you feel so slighted? If you're sooo conservative, why aren't you out there complaining about how not conservative the current administration is with all the money they pick out of our pockets? What hard work are you doing to fix what's wrong in this town? Hmmmm? Before you answer, remember, blogging at a computer in your parents basement or whining in hair salons don't count. :-P
slyfox1961 September 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM
You are a sour, aggressive, mean spirited person. That is exactly what is wrong with the faction of the extreme right that you belong to. For your information, I am not the person with the drinking problem that you think I am. But if I was, is that a reason to attack me? Aren’t you supposed to be a “compassionate conservative”? Is your defense of these extremists so weak that you must resort to personal attacks to deflect? My posts are backed up in fact. Yours are backed up with hatred. Thanks for proving my point with your extremist attitude. Woodbridge readers will make up their own minds.
Deborah Bell (Editor) September 27, 2011 at 12:17 PM
I love that you guys are giving your opinions. I hate that you can't do it without the namecalling. Let's be adults, shall we?
Janet Gage September 27, 2011 at 01:07 PM
I'm simply presenting facts to support my opinion...unfortunately, Slyfox doesn't like them because none of them back up his claims. even the one and only fact he presented! I guess proving him wrong constitutes "attacking" him ...so he resorts to name calling. hmm whose playbook is that from? So very interesting that he never commented on the suggestion of jealousy, one of many "outs" I gave him to blame for his illogic. and he threw a big hate-spewing tantrum when I asked what he's done for the "conservative cause" he claims is so embarrassed by this campaign. So now we know he can't think clearly because he's jealous. and it's disturbing he fixated on the lone woman in the campaign. Pity. Please, if you can't get that under control do us all a favor stay home on election day. Voters who use base emotions to think instead of their brains is what got this country in the mess it's in in the first place.
slyfox1961 September 27, 2011 at 01:52 PM
I apolagize Deborah, but after three rounds of her calling me a drunk, I could not help but defend myself by pointing out that she is mean, but I never called her or anyone else any names. I don't know what blog she is reading.
Deborah Bell (Editor) September 27, 2011 at 02:12 PM
I'm a firm believer in giving people the utmost scope to express their opinions, but that also requires that posters exercise some decorum. I'll try to catch the next round of "guess what you are/so what am I" before it escalates to questioning anyone's parentage. But I'd really rather not do that. I trust you'll both be more circumspect. You can debate to your heart's content: just keep it clean. No namecalling, no guessing the other's IQ, no remarks on anyone's recreational hobbies. Just stick to the topic, and leave the ad hominems on nj.com's message boards. Thank you both for your cooperation.
Tom Maras September 27, 2011 at 04:30 PM
What Choice Do Woodbridge Voters Have? (Part 1) Take a look at the candidates, both Democrat and Republican (?), who are vying for the mayoral and town council seats in November. Mr. Struben’s “Right Choice for Woodbridge” ticket states they are not “indebted” to any political party. So why do they take campaign money from the township’s Republican organization, the WTRO, who they disavow, and tout their endorsements from the Tea Party sector of the Republican Party? Their website offers lots of catchy rhetoric. But vetting their slate of candidates leaves one wondering, “where’s the beef”? Mr. Struben has a past history as a WTRO/Middlesex County Republican and a failed mayoral candidate. Mr. Kaczmarek, Jr. offers colorful commentary about unions and their members, social-religious issues and certain ethnic groups. Mr. Ascolese is rather naïve, but does show potential. Ms. Reinhart has been fairly well summarized by a NJ.Com Woodbridge forum and Woodbridge Patch blogger ,‘Slyfox’. She has a self-professed close connection to John McCormac.
Tom Maras September 27, 2011 at 04:33 PM
So What Choice con't (Part 2) On the WTRO side, there are Susan Boros and Peter Kothari. Ms. Boros is running for a council-at-large seat, has a business background, two children in the Woodbridge school system, and genuinely wants to ensure a better life for her family, friends and constituents in the township. She is a good choice for voters who want an independent voice on the town council. Mr. Kothari, the candidate for the 3rd Ward council seat, has a proven business background, promotes cultural cohesiveness and, if elected, would give the 3rd Ward a real voice on the town council.
Tom Maras September 27, 2011 at 04:35 PM
What Choice con't (Part 3 of 3) On the Democrat side there is the ‘would be mayor for life’, John McCormac, two of his long-time council cronies, Jimmy Carroll and Brenda Yori Velasco, and the two handpicked McCormac council replacements, Kyle Anderson, Councilman-at-Large, and Michelle Charmello, 3rd Ward Councilwoman. Councilman Anderson and Councilwoman Charmello seem like nice folks , but aside from their ever reliable “YES” votes on the McCormac Administration’s agendas, what do they bring to the council? As for John McCormac and his two cronies, much could be said, especially about their love of spending your money on gilts. When it comes to voting for them, a bumper sticker’s commentary comes to mind: Politician and diapers should be changed often and for the same reason! So what choice do Woodbridge voters have? The answer is as simple as: Four more years of wasteful spending, borrowing, taxing, unfulfilled promises, preventable disasters and the takeover of private organizations or, voting for candidates that at least offer a glimmer of hope in these difficult and challenging socioeconomic times.
Tom Maras September 27, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Hey Janet, Susan Boros, a woman, is also a fellow Republican council-at- large candidate.
David Pinkowitz September 30, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Focusing simply on the headline of this article and Mr. Struben's related comments, the main problem for the Republican candidates is that they failed to draw much excitement, even within their own primary. One might have expected that a contested primary race between the Struben slate and WTRO slate would have resulted in heavier turnout among Republicans during the primary. Instead, the Democratic turnout in a mostly uncontested primary was approximately 20% while the Republicans were slightly lower. That isn't to say that nothing was positive about the primary results for the Republican slate. Although Mayor McCormac ran unopposed, 700 Democratic voters on that day chose not to cast a vote in his favor. Many chose not to vote for a mayoral candidate at all and in a few cases some cast write-in votes. If these represent a general anti-incumbent sentiment rather than a general apathy because their vote didn't matter, maybe the Republicans have a chance. The bottom line is that this is an off-year election. Only state and local offices are on the ballot and turnout is likely to be low. Unless the Republican slate can offer some excitement and get people out to vote, which they could not do among the party faithful in the primary, I would expect the better organized Democratic slate to win regardless of views.

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