SENATE PRIMARY A YAWNER ON THE GREEN

Marjorie and Howard Fox after voting in Little Silver, above. Barbara Crowton, below, voted at the United Methodist Church in Red Bank. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

As Newark Mayor Cory Booker coasted to victory in Tuesday’s special primary voting for the open United States Senate seat from New Jersey, widespread electoral lethargy surrounding the occasion was also evident on the Green Tuesday.

A visit to four polling sites – three in Red Bank and one in Little Silver – over the course of two hours after the heavy rain stopped found fewer than 10 voters in all. Most were glad to share thoughts about Governor Chris Christie’s decision to hold an October election to replace late Senator Frank Lautenberg apart from the November general election, at a cost of $24 million.

Several, all from the 40 and under set, said they were unaware that Tuesday’s primary was specially scheduled.

At the Woman’s Club of Little Silver, Howard Fox and his daughter Marjorie Fox both had strong objections to the special election.

“It was gratuitous to do it this way, ” said Howard.

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HALFACRE REGRETS EARLY EXIT FROM 12TH

halfacre-for-congressWatching a poorly funded Tea Party-approved candidate throw a scare into an opponent this week, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre kinda wishes he’d stayed in the GOP primary race in the Congressional 12th District, he tells PolitickerNJ.

Halfacre shut down his effort to unseat incumbent Democrat Rush Holt in late March, after he failed to gain endorsements from GOP leaders in Monmouth and Middlesex counties.

But after seeing David Corsi of Oceanport garner 46 percent of the primary vote Tuesday on just $5,000 raised — versus venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle‘s $640,000 warchest — Halfacre rues not staying in the contest, writes Politicker’s Max Pizarro:

Asked if he regreted not running to the finish, particulalry after seeing Corsi’s victory by 768 votes in the Monmouth County portion of the district, Halfacre said, “Absolutely. I made a mistake. No one could have predicted this election result. If we had any idea the line would have been as weak as it was, we would have stayed in.”

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SCHARFENBERGER HOLDS OFF CHALLENGER

tony-avalloneTony Avallone, last-place finisher in the the Middletown GOP race, says he’ll be back.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The attempt by a Republican upstart to wrest a seat from a Middletown incumbent in November failed in Tuesday’s primary.

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger defended his seat on the township committee with 1,914 votes over newcomer Tony Avallone, who came away with 1,211 votes. Scharfenberger’s Republican running mate, Kevin Settembrino, garnered the most votes, with 2,023.

That leaves a November race in which Settembrino and Scharfenberger will vie for two open seats on the committee — one being Scharfenberger’s, and the other held by the committee’s only Democrat, Sean Byrnes, who is seeking re-election. Also in the race is Democrat Mary Mahoney.

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BREAKING PLEDGE, HALFACRE SEEKS 2ND TERM

halfacre-tatCan he leap his own pledge in a single bound? Mayor Mike Halfacre’s calf tattoo, bearing his initials and those of his wife and children. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mike Halfacre’s days in politics aren’t over yet. And he’s willing to break a longtime pledge to prove it.

just_in1Following his withdrawal from the District 12 Congressional race last week, the Republican tells redbankgreen that he’s running for a second term as mayor of Fair Haven in November.

“Yes I am,” he said. “I’m running for mayor in 2010.”

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HALFACRE ENDS CAMPAIGN

halfacre-for-congressInstant memento: Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre in his office with a campaign sign earlier this month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

just_in1Coming off a disappointing failure to win the backing of GOP powerbrokers in Monmouth County, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre has quit his run for Congress, according to an announcement from his camp Tuesday afternoon.

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HALFACRE RACE LOSES AIR

HalfacrebikerMike Halfacre stops in downtown Red Bank during a bike ride in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Congressional candidate Mike Halfacre failed to capture home-county backing from his party Monday night, a hit that shows dwindling support for the Fair Haven mayor’s bid to unseat 12-district incumbent Democrat Rush Holt.

Meanwhile, local newspaper publisher Diane Gooch gained traction in her own bid for a Congressional seat.

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FAIR HAVEN REDUCES TAXES… AGAIN

halfacre-1Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre, shown here at a December council meeting, introduced a  smaller 2010 budget that shrinks taxes on Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven has accomplished an improbable feat in today’s fiscal climate.

While most towns, including Red Bank, are jumping on the panic button to balance budgets over cuts in state aid and a dormant economy, borough officials on Monday night introduced a 2010 budget that reduces taxes.

Mayor Mike Halfacre, who’s vying for the Republican nomination to challenge 12th-district Congressman Rush Holt in November, was quick to tout the achievement as evidence of his GOP tax-cutting credentials.

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HALFACRE HITTING THE TRAIL HARD

halfacre-dist12-campaignFair Haven Mayor and candidate for Rush Holt’s 12th district Congressional seat, seen in his office with a map of the district. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You aren’t going to see much white space on Mike Halfacre’s calendar these days. Maintaining a town, a law practice and working the campaign trail tends to wipe out your free time.

Since announcing his campaign against Democratic incumbent Rush Holt in July, the mayor of Fair Haven has been hard at work trying to gain support across the large swath of New Jersey that is the 12th District — 44 municipalities in five counties that reaches from Halfacre’s hometown to the Delaware River.

With county conventions and a primary looming, Halfacre has been on a dizzying pace on the stump.

“I’m very busy,” he said. “I am out somewhere almost every night of the week.”

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PRESS: HOLT HAS TIGHT REIN ON TOWN HALL

hot-topic1Congressman Rush Holt‘s town hall meeting on federal health coverage in Middletown Wednesday was a less raucous affair than the one held the night before in Red Bank by his House colleague, Frank Pallone Jr., today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

One reason: Holt held his in the 258-seat Middletown Arts Center. Another: Boy Scouts. The 12-district Democrat refused to take oral questions and instead had people write theirs down and drop them in boxes. Boy Scouts then chose the questions for Holt, according to the Press.

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