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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roger Bacon. (Photo: Roger Bacon.)

Dems seek to reject Bacon petitions in gubernatorial primary

Perennial candidate didn’t get enough signatures, complaint says

By David Wildstein, April 09 2021 9:26 pm

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee says that Roger Bacon fell short of the 1,000 eligible signatures he needs to qualify as a candidate for governor and is asking that he be removed from the June primary election ballot.

Raj Parikh, the counsel to the state committee, says that Bacon’s petitions included multiple deficiencies, including signatories who are not registered voters or Democrats,

“These individuals are not ‘qualified voters’ who could properly sign Mr. Bacon’s petitions and/or their indorsements are fatally defective,” Parikh wrote in his challenge. “As a result of the above deficiencies, Mr. Bacon’s petitions do not contain the valid signatures of 1000 qualified voters and should have been rejected by the division (of elections).”

Bacon and Lisa McCormick, a shadowy perennial candidate, are challenging Gov. Phil Murphy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  The state party is looking to have both candidates tossed from the ballot.

Their case against McCormick is different, since she is accused of submitting fraudulent petitions. Parikh and State Sen. Joseph Cryan (D-Union) have suggested that the case be reviewed by prosecutors for a possible criminal violation.

Steven Barnes, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, decline to comment.

Bacon has already lost his original ballot slogan: “Make New Jersey Great Again.”

According to the Division of Elections, Michael D. Byrne is the owner of the slogan and that he has authorized perennial candidate Hirsh Singh to use it in the Republican primary.

Instead, Bacon has changed his slogan to “Make New Jersey Free Again.”

Bacon, a conservative Democrat, is making his sixth bid for public office and his second run for governor.

In 2009, Bacon was one of three Democrats who mounted primary challenges to incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine.  Corzine won 77% of the vote in that race, followed by former Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson (9%), 9/11 conspiracy theorist Jeff Boss (8%), and Bacon (6%).

Corzine’s failure to get the votes of nearly one-in-four Democratic primary voters in a field where no candidate raised money or mounted any real campaign foreshadowed a problem he had within his own party, a factor that heavily contributed to his general election loss to Republican Chris Christie.

Bacon began running for office in 1992 as the Libertarian candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district.  Rep. Bill Hughes (D-Ocean City) was re-elected that year by a 56%-41% margin against Assemblyman Frank LoBiondo (R-Vineland).  Bacon won 1% of the vote, finishing third in a five-candidate contest.

In 1993, he won 8% of the vote in a two-way State Senate race against incumbent Bill Schluter (R-Pennington).  Democrats did not nominate a candidate and Schluter won 92%.  As the Libertarian candidate against Rep. Marge Roukema (R-Ridgewood) in 1994, he won 1.5%.

Bacon lost a Republican primary for Conrgess against Roukema in 1996 – he won 6% — and a Democratic primary in the same district in 2008 for the chance to take on Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage).

Taking on Garrett, who lost his seat to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in 2016, left Bacon with some regrets.

“We need a guy like that today,” he said.

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