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IN A STUNNER, BECK PLOWS KARCHER UNDER

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Red Bank Republican Jennifer Beck trounced incumbent state Senator Ellen Karcher at the polls yesterday, despite having been outspent more than fivefold in a campaign widely noted for its bitterness.

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In bootstrapping herself to the Senate, Beck helped secure Assembly wins for Little Silver Councilman Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande of Marlboro. They ousted incumbent Mike Panter of Shrewsbury and denied Amy Panter of Fair Haven Beck’s seat in the lower chamber.

“I never thought we’d get a sweep,” Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl told redbankgreen early this morning at a GOP bash at the Dublin House. He said the win came about because “Karcher went negative too early and poured in a lot of money to stay negative at the end. Voters get turned off by that. She stayed negative too long.”

Img_8165Beck on TV behind the bar at the Dublin House. That’s running mate Declan O’Scanlon on the left.

Beck’s margin of victory was unclear early this morning, but members of her campaign variously estimated gaps between her and Karcher of eight to 11 percentage points. Monmouth County posted results showing Beck pulled 55 percent of 43,716 votes cast, compared to Karcher’s 44.7 percent. Results from Mercer County portion of the district were not immediately available.

Beck told redbankgreen that the win was a “huge honor,” and that after having spent much of her two years as an Assembly member introducing herself to constituents in Mercer County, she now plans to spend more time here. She said she intends to focus on issues of particular concern to Red Bank, including improved state funding of schools and the property tax system.

“This is my hometown,” she said, in the stairwell of the Dublin House while a party raged in the next room. “I will always protect Red Bank.

Beck told redbankgreen that she had received a congratulatory call from Mayor Pasquale Menna, with whom she has been friends since her seven-year tenure on the Red Bank council. Menna recently formed a law partnership in Shrewsbury with Casagrande and a third attorney.

Karcher did not mention Beck by name in her concession speech, according to a television report.

The meandering 12th was one of three districts seen as key battlegrounds for the Democrats. It was the only one in which Republicans were victors, according to a report from the Gannet Statehouse Bureau.

For the race, Karcher amassed a war chest of $2.4 million compared to Beck’s $340,000, Gannet reported.

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