Edward “NJ Weedman” Forchion today ended his independent bid for governor, terminating a 90-minute court hearing that concentrated on the process he used to gather electronic signatures on his nominating petitions.
“I can’t compete with the power of the Democratic Party,” Forchion told Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Rabin. “I’m about to smoke some weed.”
Raj Parikh, the counsel to the Democratic State Committee, said that Forchion “failed to obtain the signatures of 800 qualified voters” required under state election law using the procedures for gathering electronic signatures outlined by the state Division of Elections.
Parikh had been prepared to through Forchion’s signatures one at a time until he had disqualified 37 of them – many where signatures didn’t match for information was incomplete.
Forchion had brought a witness, Shadi Hermina, a technology professional who had developed the online petition form.
But Forchion abruptly ended the virtual hearing, saying he’d had enough and would instead mount a write-in campaign to unseat Gov. Phil Murphy.
“The Democratic Party has everything lined up,” he alleged. “They pick the judges.”
Judges are not picked by plaintiffs in election matters.
The longtime advocate of legalized marijuana openly smoked during the hearing.
At one point, he tweeted, “Have you ever seen a guy taking BONG rips during a court appearance? No but ummm look now.”
After his withdrawal, he used the bong again and blew smoke at his screen.
“He left the hearing in a cloud of smoke,” Rabin said. “I am accepting his withdrawal.”
That leaves three independents on the ballot against Murphy and Republican Jack Ciattarelli – Libertarian Party Gregg Mele., Joanne Kuniansky of the Socialist Workers Party and perennial Green Party nominee Madelyn Hoffman — the least number since 1953.
Hoffman is making her 7th bid for public office.
Some gubernatorial ballots have included a massive number of independents. The record was 17 in 1993, followed by 14 in 1977 and 11 in 1981.
This would have been Forchion’s 14th bid for public office and his second run for governor. He finished sixth in a field of ten candidates in 2005, winning 9, 136 votes (0.4%) in his race against Jon Corzine.