If the Democratic battle to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Rush Holt is a fight between two counties, state Sen. Linda Greenstein’s campaign should be glad Middlesex County rolled out a new voter initiative this election cycle.
The county clerk’s office, for the first time, sent mailers to all its registered voters that included an application to vote by mail in addition to the usual ballot information printed on the mailers.
“It went out in April … [and] it had an application for a mail ballot,” said Amy Naples, the county’s elections clerk, explaining the vote by mail application went out to some 430,000 registered voters.
The mailer – not unlike similar voter initiatives seen in areas like Camden County – isn’t a new phenomenon for the state. However, it comes as Greenstein battles Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and two other candidates in the closely-watched Democratic primary that insiders on both camps expect will be a close race.
“There are a number of different narratives in this election, but it’s hard to figure out which one is going to be dominate,” Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, told PolitickerNJ last week.
“One is Mercer versus Middlesex. Middlesex has more people and Mercer has more Democrats,” he said, adding, however, “The chairman in Middlesex has gotten some national publicity for using some high end micro targeting program to identify and motivate voters.”
Middlesex County’s Democratic chairman, Kevin McCabe, didn’t immediately return a request for comment. However, Democratic sources (and independt polls) tell PolitickerNJ that while the mailers are nonpartisan, getting out the vote in Middlesex County will be a boon to Greenstein.
“Middlesex County has made a concerted effort to push the vote by mail effort,” said one Democratic source.
Middlesex County, which has the numbers, is tipped in Greenstein’s favor, according to a recent Monmouth University poll. She has the line and 43 percent of the vote, while Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula follows with 10 percent, Princeton scientist Andrew Zwicker with 6 percent and Coleman trailing with 4 percent.
“Anytime there’s an effort to expand the electorate and to encourage more folks to get out and vote and become politically active I think that’s a godo thing,” said a spokesman for Greenstein’s campaing, Matt Bonasia. “So I’m happy to hear about that.”