Seth Grossman–Why I’m Not Running for Atlantic County Sheriff
?By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
I almost became a candidate for Sheriff of Atlantic County last week.?? But I didn’t.?? Here’s the story.
????? Most problems in New Jersey deal with law enforcement or public schools.?? I give up on public schools.?? State law forces all 103,000 public school employees to pay roughly $850 per year to the NJEA and NEA teacher unions.?? These unions also get “donations” from suppliers of school books, etc.?? They end up with about $90 million each year – more than enough to buy or bully every politician in the state.
????? But I didn’t give up on fixing law enforcement.?? County sheriffs are still elected by the people.?? A sheriff can apply these four programs to make us safer and to keep taxes down:
?1.? Train and certify county sheriff’s officers under Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationalization Act.?? This will let us arrest, hold, and deport illegal foreigners BEFORE they commit crimes.
?2.? Train, organize, and supervise citizen volunteers and special police officers to assist paid police during emergencies and peak demand periods.
?3.? Speak out on issues to protect the public–not just to get more pay, pensions, and benefits for law enforcement people.?? Find out if the $100 billion a year “War on Drugs,” started by Richard Nixon in 1971, makes any sense.?? If not, publicly urge the repeal of today’s Prohibition, so that this money can be better spent elsewhere.?? If it makes sense to bring back the death penalty, speak out on that too.
?4.?? Don’t play favorites.?? The Sheriff should have given Governor Corzine’s state trooper driver a ticket when the Galloway police didn’t.?? The Sheriff should also arrest politicians who forge signatures on absentee ballots, or who misuse taxpayer owned cars for personal use.
????? Atlantic County’s current sheriff, Jim McGettigan (Democrat), never cared for any of these policies.?? But how many police or other sheriff’s departments (Republican or Democrat) do?
????? Last December, I asked two of Atlantic County’s top Republican leaders to support my efforts to be County Sheriff.?? They both said “No way.”?? They would only support a “professional law enforcement officer.”
????? I then looked for support from nearly a dozen Republican clubs around the county.?? Most rank and file members encouraged me.?? But most leaders were cool and kept their distance.?? Last week, I hired Rick Shaftan, Steve Lonegan’s pollster, to learn what was going on.
????? He found that I had the support of? 22.4% of those Republicans most likely to vote in a primary election.?? Former Sheriff’s Officer Joe O’Donoghue polled 8.5%, Pleasantville Police Officer Frank Balles polled 6.7% and Atlantic City Police Officer Mike Heath polled 0.9%.??
????? But ballot position is very important in primary elections.?? Roughly 15% to 20% of primary election voters choose the candidates endorsed at the party’s county convention.?? These endorsed candidates appear “on the line”-that is on the top row with the other endorsed party candidates.
????? The Atlantic County Republican Convention will be held March 27 at the Renault Winery in Galloway.?? There is no secret ballot and no official list of the names and phone numbers of the delegates.?? It is almost impossible for an outsider to persuade most delegates to publicly vote against their leaders.
????? To be the Republican nominee, I would have to run “off the line” in the June 3, primary.?? To offset the 15% to 20% advantage of my opponent “on the line,” I would have to put together my own line candidates (two for freeholder and dozens for local offices and county committee) by April 7.?? I would need money donations from about 500 people.?? And I would have to go out campaigning almost every night and weekend? from now to June 3.
? After a week of scrambling, only Charles Urban of Absecon had agreed to run with me as freeholder.?? I did not have any county committee running mate.?? I had not even begun to raise funds.
?Already, my law office was getting chaotic, and things would get a lot worse during the next ten weeks.?? Also, I would have to spend hours re-arranging my radio program to offer “equal time” to all other candidates.?? I would have to give up my weekly column in the Current newspapers of Atlantic County.
? If I succeeded, and won the June 3 primary, I would then campaign for votes and money five more months to defeat my Democratic opponent in the November 4 election–if I didn’t drop from exhaustion first.?? (Atlantic County Democrats in Atlantic County outvoted Republicans 27,000 to 20,000 in February’s presidential primary.)
?? The end result is Catch-22.?? I can’t get picked to run “on the line” because I want to change things.?? I can’t afford to run “off the line” because I don’t have a 35 hour per week government job with seven weeks paid vacation.?? But then if I had that government job, I wouldn’t want? to change anything.
?? The members of Liberty and Prosperity gave me enormous support and encouragement during the past three months.?? I learned much from the experience.?? I intend to reach what I learned to dozens of others, so they can be effective and successful candidates for public office should they so choose.?? Thank you.???