The (Bergen) Record has endorsed incumbents Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) and Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan for re-election to the State Assembly in the 39th district.
“Schepisi and, to a lesser extent, Auth have both shown an ability to work across the aisle on challenges facing the state while also addressing the particular needs and concerns of residents of the 39th, the editorial said. “We see no pressing need to turn either legislator out of office.”
Schepisi and Auth face Westwood Mayor John Birkner and Emerson Councilman Gerald Falotico.
The Record has provided virtually no coverage of the 39th district race. In July, they reported the newly-elected Bergen County Democratic Chairman Paul Juliano was eyeing the two seats. Earlier this month, the 39th was included in a rundown of competitive races across the state.
At least one section of the endorsement demonstrated little understanding of New Jersey politics.
The Record states, “There is some evidence to suggest that demographics and mindset may be changing in this once solidly ‘Rockefeller Republican’ district. Longtime State Sen. Gerald Cardinale had to fight hard to keep his seat in the 39th in 2017, holding off Democratic challenger Linda H. Schwager by little more than 4,000 votes.”
While the 39th is clearly shifting Democratic – voter registration numbers show that – Cardinale was the wrong example.
Cardinale won by 4,121 votes in the last election. That’s a healthy margin, not exactly a squeaker.
And northeastern Bergen County was never really a Rockefeller district. When Rockefeller ran for president in 1964, the state senator form Bergen County, Pierce Deamer, strongly supported Barry Goldwater for the Republican presidential nomination. The towns in the 39th district voted for heavily for Goldwater in the 1964 New Jersey presidential primary over Rockefeller – that year, all candidates ran as write-ins.