Monmouth Dems focused on building a foundation

SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS – Statewide elections are two weeks away and for Monmouth County Democrats the name of the game is build from the foundation.

In the GOP-leaning Monmouth County the scales usually tip in favor of red. However, there’s a significant push by Democrats to edge into the Republican territory and the presence of the Senate’s top lawmaker should be evidence of the push.

“Build the party, bring as many people as you can to strengthen this organization, … and then once you create it you can win, there’s no reason why not,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney, who was invited to speak at the Monmouth County Democrats’ Annual Chairman Ball.

“It’s the effort that you put in and you’ve got to build from the foundation up,” he said, explaining first it’s the councils and then the freeholder boards.

“No Republican can win statewide if we can win this county,” Sweeney said. “It’s just a matter of attitude, energy and focus, and that’s what I’m seeing out of this county.”

It’s here where Democrats boast of the results of the recent special election that put Newark Mayor Cory Booker on the path to be the state’s next U.S. senator.

Despite Booker having trailed his Republican challenger in Monmouth County by about 10 points, local Democrats are touting a strong showing during the election that drew about 49,000 votes for Booker.

Booker trailed his Republican opponent in the county by about 10,000 votes, though Monmouth brought in more Democratic votes for Booker than in Hudson, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer and Union counties.

“We have worked very hard for the last year to build this party,” said Vin Gopal, chairman of the Monmouth County Democrats, explaining the Democrats’ roster is growing in Monmouth and that more than 130 people have signed up to automatically fund the organization $35 at the start of each month.

“We are going to continue to work hard in Monmouth County,” Gopal said. “We can do this if we work together and we work hard.”

And as Sweeney would say after the chairman finished speaking, once the county swings Democratic it’s a lock for the Statehouse.

“Once we turn Monmouth County blue, a Republican will never win statewide,” Gopal said.