In one of New Jersey largest suburban municipalities, where hotly-contested partisan campaign budgets have skyrocketed into the six-figure realm in recent election cycles, former Democrat Bob Moore is hoping to do more with significantly less funding in this year’s election.
Spurned by his fellow Democrats over a number of votes during his first term – most notably, refusing to vote with his party in a failed attempt to oust Township Clerk Lynnette Iannarone in favor of former Democratic councilwoman Kathy Russel – Moore is running as the only independent candidate this year. His campaign budget so far: just about $2,000.
“When you run independent, you don’t have the backing of the engineering firms and the unions and the big money, so it’s all about supporters who believe in me,” said Moore, who is focusing his campaign on the issues of public safety and development.
“I’m the blue collar guy who can get things done,” Moore said.
The single-person campaign has managed to keep up with the two parties with sign donations from supporters, plus donations of time from family members, neighbors and friends who have gone door-to-door, held meet-and-greets and placed signage around town.
“Does it really take money to win?” Moore asked rhetorically. “I hope not. I hope it’s more that people believe in you.”
If Moore wins a second term Nov. 3, his vote could end up playing a much more influential role on the governing body than it has since his first year, when the council was split between four Democrats and three Republicans. Since the 2013 election cycle, the council has been exclusively made up of Democrats, with Moore finding himself persona non grata with his former running mates. In the event three Republicans win election alongside Moore, his vote would likely be the deciding one on countless roll calls that would undoubtedly result in a 3-3 tie.
Moore admits he is “pretty much even on the issues” with his former party when it comes to municipal affairs, but he hopes being independently elected will allow him to restore some of the influence he lost after falling out of favor with the Democrats.
“I want every neighborhood in Brick to have a Neighborhood Watch program,” Moore said. “I had that going, we purchased software. I was the liaison to public safety, and when I was moved out of that position, that’s where the Neighborhood Watch idea stopped.”
Moore’s ideas, if elected, range from setting up new youth sports programs in troubled neighborhoods – hopefully using grant funding – to reach out to kids who may otherwise go down the wrong path. He also said he favors private investment in the former Foodtown site on Route 70 and would like to see an indoor sports and recreation facility built there that could include room not just for sporting competitions but senior citizen activities as well.
But to see his hopes come to fruition, he’ll have to win Brick residents’ votes a second time.
“When you rely on your friends and family members, brother firefighters, they’re there for you,” said a hopeful Moore. “This time around, it’s more of a family thing.”