EGG HARBOR – The tension was palpable inside the Atlantic County Democratic Committee’s headquarters, where the second district’s Assembly candidates, Chairman Jim Schroeder and various staffers were all huddled over their cell phones. Candidate and county freeholder Colin Bell said that missing provisional ballots had thrown the campaign through a minor loop early Tuesday morning.
“Apparently provisional ballots were not delivered to a lot of the polling places, said Bell.” And there was a court hearing on it, and they were ordered them to distribute them.”
“It was just an oversight, so, now it’s hopefully being remedied,” he added.
The provisional ballots, which would enable voters who decide to vote in person after registering for vote by mail, could make a real difference for the campaign of Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) and Bell. Mazzeo won after a recount in 2013 by only 51 votes.
Bell said that the provisional ballots “had nothing to do” with the General Majority PAC’s rejected vote-by-mail ballots, which have been caught in a battle of appeals between the PAC, the Atlantic County clerk and the New Jersey Republican State Committee. The ballots were partially filled-in, which caused them to be thrown out before the PAC’s successful appeal and the committee’s ongoing challenge.
On the race overall and the trajectory of this cycle, the candidates were optimistic.
“It’s gonna be a push here at the end, people trying to get out the vote,” said Mazzeo. “It seems like there’s a good flow. The weather’s perfect, so there’s no excuse for people not getting out the vote.”
Both Mazzeo and Bell denounced the personal attacks from the campaign of Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-2), who spent much of the race accusing Mazzeo of supporting the construction of new North Jersey casinos. The campaign also released an attack ad of Mazzeo choking for nearly a full minute at an Assembly debate in Atlantic City.
“It was some personal attacks, but I think at the end of the day if you look at the records I think the Democratic side we had we talked about real issues: property tax stabilization, spurring investment, getting people back to work in our home district. I think I didn’t hear that from the other side,” said Mazzeo.
“There was a lot of personal insults and playground name-calling from the other side directed at us. We tried to stick to the issues and I think that’s what’s going to resonate with the voters.”