The magic number so to speak for New Jersey candidates running for Governor is 430,000. Raising that many dollars is the only way their message will get the exposure brought along with upcoming televised debates. It’s an uphill climb from the start for third party candidates, fighting for name recognition.
“The thing that disappoints me most is the polls don’t include me by name,” said Kaper-Dale during a Newark press conference. “The polls are all about the democrat and republican. Then they have some sort of mini statement about independents and they don’t give us our own name. Everyone who is on the ballot in November should be on a poll. The people of New Jersey should be asked where they stand in terms of all of us.”
Green Party Candidate for Governor Seth Kaper-Dale is the pastor of Reformed Church in Highland Park. Outside of days of worship, he finds himself on the streets of cities telling people why they should vote for him.
“We need an administrator that builds people up. We need an administrator that listens to the people. An administrator that works with everyone and believes that everyone has an opportunity to contribute and better New Jersey,” said Kaper-Dale
A different type of campaigning is being held at a gun range in Randolph. Libertarian candidate for Governor Peter Rohrman speaks out against New Jersey’s strict gun carry laws.
“I personally know of a man who was incarcerated for years because he was in the middle of a move, and during his move he deviated from the course just slightly. Because of that he was sentenced to seven years in jail. Luckily he got out early, but there are plenty of victims when it comes to New Jersey’s firearms laws,” Rohrman said.
Rohrman is a former marine who’s now a youth athletics coach and network engineer by trade. The Libertarian, has his own plans to overhaul hot button issues in Trenton like property tax and the school funding formula.
“I am shooting to get on that debate stage. If you put me up there with Kim and Phil, my policies will put them to shame,” Rohrman said. “The people will be able to vote for me. The key to me winning this election is getting on that debate stage.”
No matter what third party candidate you speak with, they all agree that it’s time for Garden State residents to realize they have more than two big party choices at the voting booth.
“There’s always going to be a system for the head parties even though they hate each other’s guts they’ll agree to make sure that it’s just a duopoly as opposed to having other representation,” said Matt Riccardi, the youngest person running for Governor.
Riccardi just meets the minimum requirement age of 30. He’s a former military veteran and political science graduate from Hofstra University. He’s running under the Constitution Party platform, but ultimately thinks the Governor should be chosen based on quality of candidate and policies.
“Parties aren’t going to save the world. As I love the Constitution Party and think they put up the best candidates who are well vetted, I would never put out a blanket statement and say that I would completely support a party because you never know,” Riccardi said.
Which brings us to former Mayor Gina Genovese. The first democrat in Long Hill Township’s history elected to local office.
“And what I found is that if you take an issue no matter whether you’re a Republican or in the democratic party, and work on that issue together, that’s how you make progress,” Genovese told WBGO.
Genovese has identified as an independent for the last eight years. She like the other third-party candidates believes a Murphy or Guadagno administration is more of the same.
“The same lip-service, the same Band-Aid approach. I don’t see any new ideas. Frankly, as we know in New Jersey politics, the party, the machine, it plays a huge role. I don’t even know if I would be able to make any headway, but certainly an independent approach, why not try it? The others haven’t worked so let’s try an independent approach,” Genovese said.
There’s four third party candidates to choose from in the upcoming governor’s election. They have until the end of August to raise enough money to qualify for televised debates.