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SLEDGER: ‘GO WITH BECK’

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Though vastly outspent in her race with incumbent Ellen Karcher for the 12th-district state Senate seat, Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck today landed a major plum: the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper.

The Star-Ledger, while noting that the race race “has deteriorated into an exchange of distorted facts used for personal attacks” by both candidates, says the Red Bank Republican is “passionate” while Karcher is has been a sponsor of “halfway” reform measures in her first term.

From the editorial:

On Tuesday, voters in the 12th District will confront a difficult choice. Our advice is to go with Beck.

In her time in the Legislature, Beck has shown herself to be a bright, articulate legislator who is passionate about representing the interests of her constituents. With the state about to devise a new school aid formula, Beck has thrown herself into the issue, absorbing information and demonstrating a determination that needy students in her district will not be shortchanged.

Beyond that, Beck will be a forceful voice in the Senate — something in too-short supply on the Republican side of the aisle.

Karcher’s campaign is based on her portrayal of herself as a corruption fighter. She relentlessly holds herself up as a one- woman campaign to make the state ethical — to such a degree that some in Trenton refer to her as Saint Ellen. But the reality is that the bills she sponsored all came with big loopholes, insisted on by the party leadership. She has failed to demonstrate that she is really a leader on reform, as opposed to being the legislator chosen to sponsor halfway measures to stave off serious change.

The endorsement comes amid reports that the Democrats have been pouring money into the 12th, one of three or four districts considered electorally close. In its news pages, the Ledger reports that the two sides have spent a state-record $4.6 million in the district, the vast bulk of it — $4 million — coming from the Democratic treasuries.

And there’s this from today’s Asbury Park Press:

Campaign finance reports submitted to the state Friday and made available Tuesday showed the 12th District Democrat has raised a total of $2.3 million, compared to the $341,969 amassed by the campaign of her Republican rival, Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck. The joint campaign of Assemblyman Michael Panter, D-Monmouth, and businesswoman Amy Mallet has raised $1.137 million.

“Oh my God,” Beck said in reaction to the totals. “I knew we’d be outspent; that’s why we’re working harder.”

Beck and Karcher will hold heir fifth and final debate today at the Greenbriar senior residential community in Marlboro, Karcher’s home turf, which PoliticsNJ says is the district’s most populous town.

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