Three Democratic candidates are vying for two seats to represent New Jersey’s 28th Legislative District in the New Jersey Assembly: Cleopatra Tucker, incumbent; Garnet Hall; and Frank McGehee. Two candidates — Joy Freeman and Willie S. Jetti — are running in the Republican primary. The primary takes place on June 6, 2023. Village Green accepted letters of support for candidates up until May 30, 2023 at 5 p.m.
Voters in the upcoming June 6 Democratic primary face a unique chance to deliver a powerful message and end the anti-democratic “county line.”
New Jersey is the only state where county party organizations hold the power to determine how the ballot is laid out during primary elections. Studies have shown this approach gives those on “the line” as much as a 35-point advantage over other candidates in the same race.
Some longtime local activists will say it’s hopeless to try to end this practice, even as they agree that it is anti-democratic. I couldn’t disagree more. That’s why I will be casting a single vote in the District 28 Assembly race for Frank McGehee, who supports abolishing the county line. I urge others who care about democracy to do the same.
Though this may sound unconventional, here are five reasons why I think it makes sense:
#1: Maximizes the impact of each vote: By casting a single vote for Frank McGehee, people ensure that their vote has the maximum possible impact. Each vote for him effectively becomes a “double vote” because it not only adds to his tally but also denies the Line candidates a potential vote.
#2: Avoids inadvertently helping the competition: When voters cast their second vote for a Line candidate, they inadvertently increase the chances of one of those candidates securing a seat. By only voting for Frank McGehee, we avoid contributing to the success of the other candidates.
#3: Creates a mandate for change: By voting solely for Frank McGehee, we send a strong message to the electorate statewide that we are fed up with the status quo and demand a change. A high vote count for McGehee will demonstrate the strength of this message and increase the pressure on Trenton to embrace reform.
#4: Rallies behind a single candidate: In a three-way race for two seats, consolidating support behind a reform candidate like McGehee is crucial. By voting for only one candidate, supporters encourage others to rally around the reform candidate.
#5: Builds momentum for future elections: Even if McGehee doesn’t secure a seat in this election, a strong showing will lay the groundwork for future success. Voting solely for the reform candidate will help build a solid base of support and momentum that can be carried into future elections.
Your vote is your power. Use it to send a message: Break the Line! Vote for Frank McGehee.
Sean Bailey is a Maplewood resident and a member of SOMA Action’s board of trustees. He recently moderated SOMA Action’s candidates’ forum. This endorsement represents his personal opinion. As of this writing, SOMA Action is in the process of holding a vote of its members to approve endorsing McGehee.