Someone from South Carolina once told me Jersey style politics reminded her of the deep South – that is, about 80 years ago when political bosses used to run the roost.
The party chair people in each county are the most powerful “elected” individuals that 99% of Jersey voters never vote for – – let alone even heard of. They’re right out of central casting: political bosses who hand-pick and anoint candidates for offices ranging from town council to governor and U.S. Senate, long before primary voters step inside a voting booth.
So given the power-wielding position held by most county chairs, we thought we’d take a look at how well readers were served – – or not – – by the daily newspapers’ coverage of the chair elections that followed the primary held on June 3rd.
The APP also did one of the best jobs giving real estate to the issue. It was the only daily that ran an advance story about the local party conventions – complete with the times and locations.
As for the rest of the best, the dailies were equal opportunity reporters – coverage of the party chair elections be they Democratic or Republican was about the same — even in counties where one party dominates.
Credit the Star Ledger for its timely coverage of the Hunterdon and Somerset County outcomes. Bonus points to the Ledger for also covering the contested Perth Amboy Democrat reorganization. But take some points away for missing County Chairman elections, albeit ones without opposition, in three counties they cover.
Also on top of the game were The Press of Atlantic City (Atlantic Democrats) and The Record (Bergen) who both filed day-after-election stories.
Best depth coverage goes to the Ledger, The Record, the APP and The Daily Record – although the Ledger limited its reporting to counties north of Trenton despite its South Jersey circulation.
Coming up short were the Trenton Times (on Mercer County), The Salem Sunbeam (on Salem County), The Daily Record (on Morris County) and the Courier Post (on Burlington County) for being slow on the uptake. None reported the story until days after the county elections – some as many as three days later.
The coverage was also a mixed bag for the Gloucester County Times, which threw three stories into one – with little focus on the party elections.
Nothing is quite as bad as missing the show completely – that’s what happened with the dailies who failed to cover reorganizations in Union, Sussex, Camden, Ocean, Cape May, Hudson and Essex Counties.
And last but not least, the worst headline writing goes to the Sunbeam in a story that appeared three days after the vote: Local Dems name leader. Huh? Wasn’t the story about two partisan party elections?