Response by Rick Thigpen
Still a relative newcomer to politics, Ellen Karcher appears poised to unseat one of New Jersey’s most powerful politicians, State Senate Republican leader and 23-year incumbent John Bennett. Showing some crossover appeal and surprisingly impervious to the Governor’s political problems in that district, Karcher is getting 20% of Republicans to support her and is neck and neck with her rival among independents. Running in a new district that Al Gore carried by 10 points over George Bush and burdened with allegations of improprieties in the conduct of his law business, Bennett finds himself in the fight of his political life.
To this point, Ellen Karcher has withstood a barrage of attacks designed to drive up her negatives and more closely link her to the Governor. Ultimately, it is the undecideds, who are mostly Independents, that hold the key to this election. The only realistic way for Bennett to expect these undecided voters to break his way and to save his seat is through the revelation of sufficiently disturbing and credible negative information on Ms. Karcher. Fasten your seatbelts.
Comment by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Academic Associate, Rick Thigpen (J.D., Columbia University Law School). Rick is a former Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic Party and now a partner in The Strategy Group and is a campaign coordinator for the Essex County Democratic Party. Rick Thigpen, Esq. can be reached at (609) 394-0888.