Keep your eye out every month for my “City Beat” column in Casino Connection magazine. This month’s column is devoted to the Mayoral election. I took a look at what had transpired through September and predict what will happen in October.
Another Blue November?
Locally, Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1. Can one of the challengers pull off an upset?
Democratic federal, state, and county candidates always win in Atlantic City; voters ensure one blue November after another. Local races afford a better opportunity for non-Democrats to compete, depending on their qualifications, charisma, and the unity of the Democratic party.
Atlantic City is the only city in New Jersey where registered Democrats outnumber both registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters, so the Democratic nominee does not have to do much to pull out a victory. Democrat Lorenzo Langford amassed campaign funds during the summer, but his campaign appearances were virtually nonexistent. It’s as if he went into hibernation for the summer.
The challenge for his opponents, independent Joseph Polillo and Republican John McQueen, is to convince voters to move off the Democrat line when selecting the next mayor. But convincing the veteran voters in a Democrat-heavy electorate to forget about party affiliation will be tough. Convincing new voters to vote for a Republican or independent will be near-impossible.
We can expect a few things from now until November 4. Langford should enjoy a significant cash advantage over his opponents; he will outdistance his opponents in absentee ballots, television and radio ads, direct mail and fliers. Local churches dabbling in the political realm will throw their support behind the Democrat.
Polillo will enjoy support from the talk radio world. He has been solidifying his support in the high-rise condominiums, among jitney and taxi owners, and with small businesses and Atlantic City civic organizations.
McQueen will focus the Fifth and Sixth Wards and those Democrats who are dissatisfied with Langford’s style of leadership. He will continue to introduce himself door-to-door, fighting for name recognition and focusing on the anger over the recent revaluation property tax bills.
Atlantic City is largely insulated from the nationwide implosion of the Obama campaign. Despite Obama’s bumbles and the decreasing strength of his cult of personality, Atlantic City should expect a record turnout for the Democratic presidential hopeful. Locally, it will be a Herculean task to chip away at Democratic strength, yet Polillo and McQueen are gearing-up for the challenge.
Keep your eyes on candidate websites for updates and campaign events.
Joseph Polillo: http://polilloformayor.org
Lorenzo Langford: http://www.langfordforac.org
John McQueen: (No web-site, e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.)