There’s no love lost between Republican State Sen. Gerald Cardinale and his Democratic opponent, Joseph Ariyan.
The campaign has been nasty from the start, with Cardinale painting Ariyan as a puppet of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero, and Ariyan criticizing Cardinale for taking trips paid for by the banking industry and then supporting their preferred legislation.
This week, Cardinale sent out a campaign mailer accusing Ariyan of ties to a group he said was sympathetic to terrorists.
Today, as the voters headed to the polls, both state Senate candidates were preparing for victory.
Cardinale was at Costco in Hackensack today, taking a break from campaigning to buy potato chips, soda, sandwiches and pizza for the Bergen County Republicans’ post-election party tonight.
“What I’m doing now is getting now is some stuff for the victory party,” said Cardinale.
Although internal Democratic polls reportedly have shown Cardinale leading in the double digits, he emphasized how much less money his campaign spent on media buys– about a quarter of what Ariyan and the 39th district Democrats have spent so far.
“I think we have run as good a campaign as we could have with a lot less money than our opponents. The only thing that we could have done differently, I think, is spend a couple more million dollars on network television to match him,” said Cardinale. “But there was no way, and there is no way, that an honest legislator can raise that kind of money.”
Ariyan spent the lunch hour at a Woodcliff Lake restaurant, introducing himself to customers as the next Senator from district 39.
“I believe I have a really got shot at winning since December 8 of last year when I started campaigning,” Ariyan said. “Everyone I meet on the street is very appreciative that there’s an alternative to Cardinale, finally, Republicans and Democrats alike.”
When asked about how he felt about how Cardinale has waged his campaign, Ariyan offered a clue that the fight between the men may not be over.
“No comment. The lawyers are going to handle it. All options are being considered as soon as this campaign is over,” said Ariyan. “He issued press releases not based in fact.”