Today is Election Day in New Jersey and the focus state-wide has been on the Governor’s race where incumbent Chris Christie is a double-digit favorite over Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. 

Polling place in Atlantic County (Chris Coleman, Townsquare Media NJ)


Election Day countdown at Christie campaign headquarters (Facebook)

It seems a foregone conclusion that Christie will win another term and the real question seems to be if he’ll use the re-election momentum to make a run for the White House in 2016.  Today just might be the key to that as many feel Christie needs a wide margin of victory to show Republicans he is a viable candidate for President and an alternative to the Tea Party choices which don’t appeal to many in the party.

The GOP is also hoping that having a relatively popular Governor at the top of the ticket will help their candidates for State Senate and General Assembly.  That will likely be the case in Ocean and Monmouth County where Republican incumbents are strong and expected to return to the state Legislature.

The two counties have been strongholds for the Republican Party for years; especially Ocean County where voters today will also chose a pair of Freeholders, a Surrogate and a new Sheriff.  Jack Kelly and Jim Lacey are seeking re-election to the All Republican Board of Freeholders and are facing challenges from Patricia Brandt and Joseph Grisanti.  In the race for Surrogate incumbent Jeff Moran is being opposed by Michael Collins.

Ocean County Sheriff William L.Polhemus (Sheriff Dept)

It is the race for Sheriff that has attracted the most attention as the late William Polhemus held that office for some 27 years before he died last December, a month after being re-elected by more than 31,000 votes over George “Bob” Armstrong.

Armstrong is again the Democratic choice for the Sherriff’s post and he’s going up against longtime Toms River Police Chief Mike Mastronardy, who is seeking his first elected position.   Voters in most towns also face decisions on local offices as well as seats on their Boards of Education.

There are also a couple of state-wide public questions on the ballot and I don’t mind sharing my opinions on them.  Question #1 has to do with allowing veterans organizations to use the proceeds from games of chance like raffles to support their group and my vote is a strong Yes.  Question #2 is a bit more controversial because it calls for a change to the state constitution which would immediately raise the minimum wage by a dollar to $8.25 an hour and tie annual increases to the Consumer Price Index.  For a variety of reasons, especially the impact this would have on small businesses I will with conviction vote No.

Most importantly I will vote today…I hope you do as well.