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One Democrat on Lacey's Ballot for Two-Seat Committee Race

A lack of interest leaves the Democrats with just one candidate, which has been a continuous problem for the party, according to the Democratic municipal chairman

Local Democrats will run only one candidate for the two open Township Committee seats this fall, as no one showed interest in replacing departed candidate Nicholas Toth on the ballet.

“No one came forward so we’ll go ahead with the one candidate and support her,” said Barry Bendar, Democratic municipal chairman.

Finding candidates has always been a struggle for the Democrats in Lacey, Bendar said. This will not be the first time the party ran one candidate in a two-seat race and 2009 was a lost year, as the Democrats had no one.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve gone through this,” he said. “Finding a Democratic candidate in a town like Lacey Township is a hard thing to do.”

A Republican majority has ruled Lacey Township for more than a decade.

“When you a win a majority once in 20 years, people start to think what chance do they really have,” he said.

Although, Democrats and current committee members Sean Sharkey and Helen DelaCruz took the election in 2010, bringing the party one step closer to a majority.

With two seats open, this year’s election has the potential for a party power shift as Democratic newcomer Shawn Judson takes on Republican incumbents Mayor Mark Dykoff and Gary Quinn. Republicans currently hold a 3-2 advantage on committee.

In addition to a lack of confidence that the Democrats can get elected, it’s difficult to find someone who is willing to put their name out there, Bendar said.

“Campaigns aren’t the cleanest,” he said.

When the Lacey Democratic Club set out to recruit candidates from January through April, no one turned up. An event was even held at the library to attract candidates.

“No one was really interested at that time,” Bendar said. “At the thirteenth hour, Shawn Judson showed up and was put on the ballot.”

Because she was selected so late, the typical process — such as being introduced and interviewed by the municipal county committee — wasn’t followed and new bylaws will be developed for future guidance in such a situation.

“At that time, Nicholas also decided to run,” Bendar said, although he was also applying to graduate school.

to further his education at Cornell University. The party had just a couple weeks to find a new candidate before the county’s deadline to file on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Each member of the municipal county committee were notified and directed to look out for anyone who would be interested.

No one showed interest, including Gary Vaccaro, who ran against Republican incumbent David Most in 2011 and lost.

“Truthfully, it didn’t surprise me,” Bendar said, adding that it’s better to have one candidate on the ballot than adding another who may not be capable. “I would prefer no candidate rather than a candidate who can’t do the job. Beyond party affiliation, it’s important to have people on the dais who are competent.”

But Bendar doesn’t necessarily believe this is a lost cycle, he said.

“I have my personal opinion about the odds of winning but to take the majority, all we have to do is win one seat,” he said.

Shawn Judson is a "brand new name," which Bendar sees as a positive, he said. Although, she has never been in politics.

"She has some things to learn but she's picking them up quickly," he said. "She has leadership experience as being a shop steward for the union. She's fairly tenacious. Those are good qualities."

Moving forward, the main goal of the municipal county committee will be to attract voters and future candidates, Bendar said.

Out of more than 18,000 registered voters in Lacey Township, there are approximately 3,000 registered Democrats, many who vote on a regular basis, he said.

“That’s the focus of the committee beyond the campaign. We’ll be out there banging on doors, shaking bushes,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of voting, you have to come out and participate. Hopefully the work we do that way will grow the Democratic Club and the municipal county committee and we’ll get people interested.”

ynot September 13, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I hope Barry sends home the point, that you can cast one vote and leave the booth. You don't have to vote for a 2nd candidate.
tr September 14, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Time for an independant who is beholding to no party to have their name written in on election day.
BD Bendar September 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Just a correction, I am the Democratic Municipal Chairman of Lacey Township, not the municipal chairman for the Ocean County Democratic Committee. And to "ynot", you can always write in a name for the second candidate.
Giant fan September 14, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Mr Bendar, I'm a little concerned about the fact that you did not properly screen your candidate.
proud September 15, 2012 at 02:56 AM
As in grasping at straws?
Isheet Mipants September 15, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Perhaps this candidate should concentrate as a union delegate for the union she represents before she takes on bigger challenges! From what I understand the people she represents have no faith in her ability. If thats the case why should we?
John doe September 15, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Meet Shawn judson! Lmao
Giant fan September 15, 2012 at 01:27 PM
With all due respect, aren't you are doing a diservice to the people you represent by putting forth a candidate who you are not sure is qualified to serve the township if elected.
Giant fan September 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Could it possibly be that any of the possible qualified democratic candidates agree with the way Lacey township has been governed under the republican majority and as such choose not to run.
Isheet Mipants September 15, 2012 at 06:18 PM
In the last election it was clear that Parker and Reid had to go and Della Cruz has experiance and Sharkey was new and ambitious.Now Quinn and Dykoff come from stellar backrounds ,strong family ties and great leadership skills. Although I disagree on some of their agendas I feel the township is in much better hands with them than to bring in someone who hasn't even made a statement , campaigned given views an anything.Who is she except a divorced mother with no government exp.I'm a democrat and threres no way in hell I will vote for her!
proud September 16, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I think you missed a year or so @krandom
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress September 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM
If you keep pulling the same levers and expecting a different result, that falls under the definition of insanity. yknot is right, btw - the enemy of excellence is "good enough", and, when their are three candidates, two in the extreme and one milquetoast in the middle, and only two ballots may be cast, many people invariably cast a vote for two candidates, not realizing that they need not chose a second. If everyone was split 50/50 on the two extreme candidates, Casper Milquetoast is a shoe-in. Pull ONLY for those you feel will do the right thing in all things, or, as a "Democratic-Republican" once said - "Stand for what's right, or settle for what's left". BTW - I am running in YOUR district. Message me if you have any questions...https://www.facebook.com/FrederickJohnLaVergneForCongress?ref=hl
Giant fan September 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I would like to hear what the supporters of the local democratic party feel about the candidate their leaders have representing them.
proud September 17, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Ha- ha
Giant fan September 17, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I believe this is an important issue for discussion. Will anyone speak up for this candidate so the voters can decide if she is the right democratic representative.

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