Patch's Election Guide
The candidates, incumbents and issues.
As we look ahead to November’s elections, Patch is devoted to bring you the information you need about every race that will impact the town. Here's our start on the candidates and issues we'll be covering as November draws near. Bookmark this page for updates, as it will continue to grow.
Barack Obama, born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, is the 44th president of the United States, and the first African-American to hold the office. He captivated the nation during the 2008 presidential race, running on a platform of “hope” and “change,” against Republican John McCain.
Since taking office in 2009, Obama’s major actions have included signing off on economic stimulus legislation, enacting health care reform, ending the war in Iraq, repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and ordering the military strike that killed Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Obama also recently became the first president to throw his support behind legalizing same-sex marriage.
The Harvard Law School graduate cut his political teeth in Chicago as a community organizer and was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. He catapulted into the public eye after delivering the keynote address at the 2004 National Democratic Convention, and later that year won a landslide victory in his bid for a US Senate seat.
In 2009, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for international diplomatic efforts, and in 2011, his popular 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” made Time Magazine’s list of top-100 non-fiction books written in English since 1923.
Mitt Romney, a Michigan-born businessman and former Massachusetts governor, is the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee. He also sought the Republican nomination in 2008, winning several primaries and caucuses, but ultimately lost out on the bid to John McCain.
After graduating from Harvard with a joint JD/MBA, Romney took a management consulting position at Bain & Company, where he eventually became the chief executive officer and later went on to found the highly successful private equity investment spin-off, Bain Capital.
A devout Mormon and former church leader, Romney first ran for office in 1994 as a Republican US Senate candidate in Massachusetts. He won the Republican primary, but ultimately lost in the general election to incumbent Democrat Ted Kennedy. After the loss, Romney returned to the private sector until 2002, when he made his triumphant return to politics by defeating Shannon O’Brien in the race for the Massachusetts governorship. Romney served as the governor of Massachusetts until 2007, after which he took up his first bid for president.
Romney has leveraged his private-sector business background to campaign on a platform of job creation and righting the stagnant economy that he criticizes the president for mismanaging. He favors cutting individual and corporate taxes, increasing domestic energy production and repealing Obama’s health care reform legislation.
New Jersey State Senator Joe Kyrillos of the 13th district, won the Republican Party’s nomination to try to unseat incumbent Robert Menendez. Kyrillos is endorsed by Governor Chris Christie, with whom he has been touring the state promoting the “American comeback."
Kyrillos was born in Kearny and is currently a Middletown resident. He was elected to his seat in the State Senate in 1992, where he has been serving since. Before the state senate, Kyrillos served on the general assembly. Kyrillos has endorsed Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney.
Kyrillos is a proponent of repealing ObamaCare and criticizes Menenedez for supporting it. Kyrillos calls for “streamlining” and lowering taxes.
Incumbent Robert Menendez, a Hudson County native, was first appointed to the US Senate in 2006 by then-governor Jon Corzine. Later that year, Menendez was elected to his first full term as US Senator. He started his career on the school board in Union City, of which he is a native, and later went on to be mayor.
One of Menendez’ current issues is to end big oil subsidies. In March he proposed the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, repealing tax loopholes to the world’s five largest, most profitable oil companies.
As senator, Menendez serves on multiple committees, including the finance as well as Housing and Urban Affairs committee. Menendez serves as the chairman of the banking subcommittee on housing, transportation and community development.
In 2002, Menendez opposed President George Bush’s proposal to invade Iraq.
U.S. House of Representatives
Democrat Bill Pascrell has been representing his hometown of Paterson and parts of Passaic and Essex counties in Congress for several terms.
Redrawing of the congressional districts bumped Pascrell’s hometown from District 8 into District 9 where he easily overcame a challenge from fellow Congressman Steve Rothman in a bitter primary race.
During the hotly contested primary race, Pascrell received multiple endorsements, including support from Former President Bill Clinton.
Pascrell grew up in the working class town of Paterson and often likens himself to a city streetfighter. He has been known to focus most on issues like veterans services, job creation and public safety.
Englewood Rabbi Shmuley Boteach runs for U.S. Congress in the 9th Congressional district on the Republican ticket.
The high-profile rabbi has authored more than 20 books, including a bestseller, “Kosher Sex.” He has also been known to have been a spiritual adviser to the late Michael Jackson.
In an interview with TheHill.com, Boteach said Jewish values taught him to believe in Republican ideals of “limited government and personal responsibility.”
Boteach supports school vouchers, a flat tax and wants to make marital counseling tax deductible as a way to lower the divorce rate, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report.
Teaneck Deputy Mayor Adam Gussen won the Democratic primary to take on Republican Scott Garrett in the redrawn 5th congressional district. Gussen, who is in his sixth year on the Teaneck Township Council, has billed himself a moderate Democrat who can appeal to Garrett’s rural supporters.
In announcing his congressional bid, Gussen said his Republican opponent had an extreme right-wing agenda.
“Besides teaching Biblical Creationism in school, and bucking decades of American foreign policy on Taiwan and China it's hard quite frankly to see what he's for,” Gussen’s statement said.
The deputy mayor, however, faces a massive fundraising challenge. He has raised about 5,000 compared to Garrett’s nearly $2 million.
Republican Scott Garrett, a five-term incumbent, is largely viewed as one of the most conservative New Jersey congressmen. The Sussex County resident represents largely rural, Republican-leaning counties, however, the district was redrawn to include most of Teaneck.
“The people in the six Bergen County towns added to the 5th Congressional District will finally have a representative in Washington who understands that government should not spend more than it takes in,” Garrett said in a statement to NJSpotlight.com.
Garrett beat two Bergen County Republicans, Michael Cino and Bonnie Somer, by a wide margin in the Republican primary.