Those of us closely watching as ballots are counted have been anxiously waiting for that barometer of Hoboken election outcomes: VBMs.
Because this election has been interesting on many levels.
In a strange twist, the Kids First incumbents backed by our popular mayor were underdogs against an alignment of powerful, wealthy politicos supporting Move Forward. Here is Jamie Cryan gushing at the turn-out of political luminaries for Move Forward on the night of their kick-off:
How many Hoboken BoE candidates have their campaign lit written by the Chief of Staff to a NJ Assemblyman? Move Forward had theirs written by Ramos' aide, Alex Habib.
And while Move Forward's coffers were brimming with cash for Craig's List workers, t-shirts, tv commercials, print ads, posters, midnight flyers and Nazi Trucks (the Washington Street digs courtesy of Beth Mason), Kids First was the true grassroots campaign, running on a handful of volunteers and a bare-bones budget.
Move Forward seemed to be everywhere; one day there were 2 youths in Move Forward t-shirts on the corner of my street and 10 yards away, another four at a table in front of A&P. I saw posters in storefronts along Washington Street. And a TV commercial on A&E. (GA was watching "Hoarders") Strangely, there were no mailers -they must have blown the cash on the Nazi Truck.
So, if the metrics of a winning campaign are its wealthy, powerful benefactors and bags of cash, Kids First should have been walloped on November 6.
But they weren't. Not on the machines.
And the provisional ballots will likely reflect the machine vote.
GA suspects that many provisional may be those newly-registered by
Hoboken Votes, a bipartisan Reform initiative. Do you know who was on the street registering voters? Hint: Not Move Forward.
That's why everybody's had their eye on the VBMs. Those are the Move Forward votes- signed, sealed and delivered at $40 (or more) a pop. Except...
WHY would Move Forward have done so poorly on the machines that VBMs would need to bridge such a wide margin of Kids First votes?
Because of James Barracato and his obsession with bloggers.
Instead of a ground game in the 3rd and 4th Wards and a real GOTV effort, not just buying stuff with Beth Mason's money, Barracato ran amok. The midnight flyers and Nazi Truck were bizarre. And monumentally bad politics. They grossed people out, motivated Reform. And by using Nazi imagery as a weapon, he and Beth Mason are now tied to it forever. Barracato and Mason are the first to use swastikas in a Hoboken campaign- they've made history together.
Barracato's destroyed Mason's political future- she's forever the Nazi Truck Lady.
And his unprovoked assault on Roman Brice a few weeks ago shows the degree of his derangement. Now his own people are throwing Barracato under the bus. So far I've heard that 2 elected officials- one at the County level- are blaming Move Forward's unimpressive results on Barracato and his Nazi Truck. A lesson for Barracato: the bigger you think you are, the harder you fall.
Well folks, the VBMs have been counted. Kids First still leads-- all 3 candidates, Jean Marie Mitchell by 6 votes.
Up against a Goliath, Kids First is the tiny campaign that could. Let's hope they did.