Parisi stoic on Election Day in battleground WO

WEST ORANGE – Locked in a localized slugfest with county and statewide implications, Councilman Robert Parisi radiates calm outside the West Orange Elks Lodge.

Turnout is low.

There’s no early evidence of an outraged taxpayer uprising.

Parisi’s opponent, infuriated taxpayer John Schmidt, read desperation in the Parisi campaign’s glossy mail dump over the weekend, linking Schmidt to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and upholding Parisi as a local Democratic Party governing in admittedly tough times.

The councilman says he doubts they did much good.

“My feeling has always been that mail doesn’t make the difference,” Parisi told “Local governing is touchy feely, and West Orange is retail politics. I’d like to think I made the contact not only over the course of the last six weeks but throughout the 18 years that I’ve been active in politics. Just like in every election, you put yourself out there to be judged.

“If the tax problem were a West Orange problem I’d say that John Schmidt’s message penetrated, but the tax problem is a New Jersey problem,” Parisi added. “The challenge has always been to find a way to make West Orange comfortable within the confines of that. We’re going to try to make West Orange much more than just the tax problem statewide.”

  Parisi stoic on Election Day in battleground WO