This is the primary message churched out at the Hudson County Democratic Organization Dinner in Secaucus on Oct. 25 in a cheerleading session that they hope will help generate enough voters to the polls on Nov. 8 to propel U.S. Senator Jon Corzine into the State House as the next governor.
Although U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry was supposed speak at Monday's event in support of Corzine, his plane was Washington D.C. was delayed by bad weather, creating a kind of Waiting for Godot effect among the loyal Democrats.
But the annual dinner - Democrats said - had far-reaching implications for the county, state and nation, with Democrats frequently raising concerns over the national policies of President George W. Bush. A victory by Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester would - according to Rep. Bob Menendez and Rep. Steven Rothman - send the wrong message to Washington D.C. regarding federal policies Democrats claim are damaging the Garden State. Thus Bush and Forrester both became Democratic rallying cries throughout the Democratic dinner.
State Sen. Majority Leader and the Chairman of the HCDO Bernard Kenny - one of the leaders of the cheerleaders for Corzine - said Hudson County needs to get 100,000 votes out in Hudson County to assure a Corzine victory.
Kenny, unfortunately, had to take time off from the campaign in September for medical treatments. But he said Menendez aide Nicholas Chiaravalloti and HCDO Executive Director Erica Daughtrey stepped in.
Rothman, whose district includes all or part of four Hudson County municipalities, blasted Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester as a harbinger for Bush policies in New Jersey.
"While we support the troops, we do not support Bush's war in Iraq," Rothman said, putting the burden of a Corzine election on the shoulders of Hudson County Democrats who needed to turn out at the polls to get Corzine elected.
Rothman also joked when glancing off the podium at Menendez.
"Doesn't Bob look like a U.S. Senator?" he said, alluding to the commonly held belief that Menendez would replace Corzine in the U.S. Senate if Corzine is elected.
Although Corzine during his time at the podium alluded to the same thing, he quickly said, "This is not an official announcement."
Menendez, who proved his ability as a speech maker, said the Corzine election has implications on every level of government, A victory in New Jersey would send a message to President Bush about the future direction of the country.
Democrats took frequent shots at President Bush and Forrester during the night of speech-making. Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy blasted the Bush Administration for cutting Homeland Security funds to his city. Outgoing Assembly Speaker and West New York Mayor Albio Sires blasted Forrester's tax-cutting plan, claiming Hudson County's programs would be adversely affected.
No problems with Hudson Democrats?
County Democrats supported Kenny's position that the HDCO is posed to secure a huge victory in Hudson County for Corzine, and he disputed that the HCDO may have financial problems due to spending during the old battles.
"There is no civil war in the party," said one prominent Democrat, who wished to remain nameless.
Kenny, in his reception room greeting, said all 12 mayors and the Hudson County executive are supporting the push to get Corzine elected, and that for the first time in a long time, the party lacks any splinter groups.
"For the first time in recent memory, there is no back-stabbing and we're all working together," he said. "We have been working on this for two months and we have thousands of workers ready to hit the streets on election night."
This is not exactly accurate since the Hudson County Reform Democrats established by former Mayor Glenn Cunningham may sit out this election, thus reducing the turnout in sections of Jersey City where the organization has its principal membership. This is partly due to the close relationship between Corzine and Menendez. The Reform Democrats see a Corzine victory as the first step to promoting Menendez to the U.S. Senate - which they do not want to happen.
The road to the governor's office runs through Hudson County
In urging the key members of the HCDO to support Corzine, Kenny said the move to get the votes out must happen before the election. He said that the hour after the polls close is the more traumatic, partly because the results are unknown, and partly because no one can do anything to alter the outcome during that time.
Kenny said if elected, Corzine would be the first governor of New Jersey from Hudson County for more than half a century.
County Executive Tom DeGise said the road to the governor's office runs through Hudson County.
This means if Hudson County Democrats don't come out for Corzine, he may not become governor. Corzine, in giving his usual campaign spiel, also took notes at his table during the other speechmaking so that by the time he got to the podium, he echoed some of the same themes. But he added a few themes of his own, such as his joy at living in Hoboken, and his great hope for the entrepreneurial efforts of business people along Bergenline Avenue in Union City.
He said it was up to the Democrats at the dinner to reach out into the community to get out the vote.
"Talk to your neighbors and spread the word," Corzine said
Comfortable victory Nov. 8?
The evening would not be complete without some behind-the-scenes predictions.
Political Consultant Paul Swibinski, who recently helped Hoboken Mayor Dave Roberts beat challenge Carol Marsh in a runoff election, believe Corzine would eventually win by a comfortable margin.
But if anyone is feeling comfortable now, forget it. In fact, the Corzine campaign intends to bring in former President Bill Clinton to Jersey City's Casino in the Park on Nov. 2 to help rally support. Corzine will close out the campaign on Nov. 6 in Hoboken.
Local elections became subtext during the reception, where Secaucus Councilman Bob Kickey predicted a huge victory for the Incumbent Mayor Dennis Elwell over challenger Frank McCormack, a four-year term that will be decided on Nov. 8.
Some politicos looked ahead towards the May municipal election in Bayonne where state Sen. and incumbent Mayor Joseph Doria is expected to face off against already declared candidate Lenny Kantor and businessman Vincent Millitello. Several people questioned why Millitello planned to make his announcement early next month, not in Bayonne, but in Jersey City.
"That seems very odd," one Bayonne observer said.