The Home News Tribune and the Courier-News today endorsed Republican Bob Jones in his long shot bit to unseat Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) in the 18th district. They also endorsed one of the Democratic incumbents, Peter Barnes III (D-Edison).
"Diegnan has long seemed much too quick to resort to higher spending and more taxes," said an editorial that ran in both newspapers. "Jones offers a strong streak of fiscal conservatism and a thoughtful nature. While we wouldn't envision him as a dynamic Republican leader, we can see him as a details-oriented worker bee crunching the numbers to make cost-cutting initiatives work.
Barnes "hasn't become as thoroughly jaded as many of his more veteran colleagues," the newspapers said. "Barnes comes across as a straight-shooter willing to fight the right fights. We can criticize him for not beating the drum more loudly for reforms, and we might not agree with all of his views on appropriate government spending. But Trenton doesn't need an entire Statehouse filled with like-minded legislators. What it needs is more across-the-board integrity, lawmakers making their cases for the right reasons, and on the public's behalf, not their own."
The other Republican, former Helmetta Councilman Joseph Sinagra, "offers few specifics and little vision."
"Incumbency counts for a lot in New Jersey politics. Familiar figures have a built-in advantage if for no other reason than voters actually know their names. And of course, being in power helps generate the support needed to stay in power," the editorial said. "But incumbency should also carry with it a black mark this election season when running for state office, given the woeful performance of our government. The burden of proof shouldn't be on the challengers convincing voters of a need for change, but on the incumbents trying to tell us why they should be given another chance. And this is particularly true of Democratic representatives who have enjoyed Statehouse control for much of the decade. Most of Central Jersey's Democratic incumbents seem far too complacent about the supposed ‘realities' of governing New Jersey. In other words, bureaucracy may grind slowly and in the wrong direction, but that's OK with them because the public is supposedly too naive to understand how things get done in Trenton."