The Republican race for the nomination in the 11th congressional district might lack some of the splashy national appearances and ad runs seen elsewhere in the state, but the race itself is no less eventful.
Assemblyman Jay Webber said the final days of his campaign will be nothing less that a whirlwind of events. He’ll see at least 10 events on Saturday, all the while keeping up on his paid media campaigns.
“We’ve executed a plan,” Webber said. “We’ve had the right message for this district, which is a common-sense conservative approach, communicated that message very well and have a fantastic ground game with a lot of enthusiasm, hundreds of volunteers and supporters, and our fundraising’s been on the mark. So, in every aspect of the campaign, we’ve done what we wanted to do, and now it’s just a matter of closing it out.”
But Webber’s campaign isn’t the only one that’s been putting in hours as the election winds to its end.
Rival candidate Antony Ghee, for one, has taken a slightly different strategy. Lacking the name recognition that comes with being a sitting legislator, Ghee has had to make his name known among the district’s primary voters
“It’s trying to be as visible as possible, continuing to try to push our message home, and specifically, knocking on doors throughout the county,” Ghee said. “In addition to knocking on doors, we’ll be visible at several of the street fairs and community days throughout the district this coming weekend, so I think the word is out. I think the name is certainly out there, and hopefully the message have followed.”
Lacking the funds that both Webber and another candidate, Peter DeNeufville, have, the former through traditional fundraising and the latter from his own personal wealth, Ghee said that he’d be banking on voters spreading the word about his campaign, neighbor to neighbor.
He said that he was still undertaking some paid efforts to spread his name, including robocalls and mailers. Ghee even said that his campaign was mulling airing one last TV ad before the election’s end but cautioned that such a buy was not set in stone.
Their messaging also differs somewhat. Ghee, a relative unknown, is spinning himself as the Republicans’ best chance to retain the seat that retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen has kept since 1995.
He’s a more moderate candidate than Webber, who is considered one of the most conservative Republicans in the state’s legislature.
That could work to his benefit in the general, but a district long held by Republican hands might be inclined to vote in a candidate whose policies bend further towards the right, even in the face of what is predicted to be something of a wave election.
But, neither candidate wanted to talk much about the general, saying that their focus was locked on Tuesday’s election instead of the one in November.
“Well, let’s get through Tuesday,” Webber said when asked about his feelings on possible Democratic opponents. “That’s what we’re focused on. Tuesday at 8:01, we can start thinking about the general.”