BERGENFIELD – Ithad the makings of a grim encounter as RepublicanWojciech Siemaszkiewicz hovered at the edges of a band of campaigning Democrats, which included Gov. Jon Corzine and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood).
As the GOP's District 37 Assembly candidate,Siemaszkiewicz, a Polish dissident and librarian at the New York Public Library,has his sights on Johnson. It goes without saying that hedoesn't approve of the work Johnson has donein the legislature over the course of the last seven years.
"They haven't done anything for the district," Siemaszkiewiczsaid of Johnson andhis running mate, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle (D-Englewood) asJohnson prepared to work the crowd with Corzine.
"They haven't done anything to curtail property taxes or inhibit the mandates that have contributed to a rise in local spending. There's simply been no improvement," said the Republican, who earlier in the afternoon had campaigned with GOPgubernatorial candidate Chris Christie.
Sighting him with the governor, Siemaszkiewicz finally walked up to Johnson personally to try to make his case, and was stunned as the assemblyman responded as though Siemaszkiewicz were the best friend he hadn't seen in three decades, grabbing him and engaging in a hearty,affectionate bear hug.
Siemaszkiewicz tried to talk toJohnson about the issues, including the problem withan EZPass discount only applying to drivers who enrolled in the program through the E-ZPass New York Service Center. "Those not enrolled through New York will be charged the same price as drivers who pay cash to use the seven bridges and two tunnels," said theRepublican challenger.
Johnson wore a sympathetic expression on his face for a few minutesbefore moving on into the crowd.
"He's very friendly," said Siemaszkiewicz. "But he does nothing. That's the problem."