CLINTON – Battling state Sen. Marcia Karrow's (R-Raritan Twp.) earlierweekendorsement by the National Rifle Association (NRA), challenger Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) did a Sunday morning church blast touting his backing by New Jersey Right to Life.
"We went to every conservative church we know and put up flyers reminding people that Mike Doherty is a strong pro-life leader," said the Assemblyman.
Rejected by the joint Warren and Hunterdon county party organizations at a special convention earlier thisyear, Doherty has surfaced on the trail as a dogged campaigner in his quest to wrestle the 23rd District senate seat away from incumbent Karrow.
Aleft-right combination mailpiece and robocall branding Doherty on Memorial Day weekend as a white flag apologist on the Iraq War question sent the retired Army captain andWest Point grad.into overdrive with a counter robocall issued by his wife objecting to "party bosses and Karrow attacking our patriotic family."
Sitting in McDonald'sSunday afternoon for a few minutes after banging on doors in Glen Gardner, Doherty grimly considered the war of robocalls.
"I told my guys to stop ours finally," he said. "I really think the days of robocalls have come to an end. People are telling me they're getting a dozen a day. It's abusing folks."
Already a feisty GOP standout on the Senate Budget Committee whowent on the attack after assessing state aid numbers forJersey Citywhennumerous city administrators make six digitsalaries and a reognized authority on the Highlands Act issue, Karrow told the Express-Timesin a story issued today thather senate race is "about substance over symbolism."
Her soundbites have a way of setting Doherty's teeth on edge.
"People want you to stand up," said Doherty, a movement conservative aligned with Steve Lonegan's renegade gubernatorial campaign. "Substance is standing up.
"We'll see what the people decide," Doherty added. "I've beaten Marica – I've been the high vote-getter – in all of our contests. I feel confident."
Panned by archrival party insiders over here as more intent on campaigning than governing, Doherty now in doggeddoor-to-door mode in the closing hours of this contest haspenetrated the worry zone ofestablishment Republicans who haddismissed him as a has-been after the convention, and who nowrally around Karrow's re-election with renewed effort.