Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lakewood has the most sophisticated political machine in the state and perhaps the nation.

Does the vaad still control the vote?? not always read below from

"They  get the vote out," Singer said. "Unions can tell you they produce votes for you.  Lakewood can show you they produce votes for you."

Jim Keady first came to fame as the Democratic activist who managed to infiltrate a Chris Christie political event in Belmar last year  and sucker the governor into yelling  "Sit down and shut up"  at him. That led to a YouTube clip that will live in infamy. I interviewed Keady not long afterward and found  that he is a self-promoter with ambitions on a par with the politician he baited.  A good example came when he won election to the city council in Asbury Park by knocking on the door of  every African-American in that heavily minority city. That was no easy task. So when Keady told me he was going to run for the state Assembly as a Democrat in the 30th District, I was curious how that would work out. Not well, I expected. The district, which  includes lower Monmouth County and two towns in Ocean County,  has been solidly Republican for as long as I can remember. Nonetheless when I ran into Keady on the campaign trail, he promised me he had excellent prospects.  

That turned out to be true for a couple of other Democrats running in Monmouth County.   Two traditionally Republican Assembly seats were taken by Democrats as part of an anti-Christie wave that looks like it will cost the state GOP four total seats in the lower house.

But Keady got creamed. And when I went to examine the results a few days after his defeat, I came across this rather startling statistic from one election district in the Ocean County town of Lakewood: 157-0.

Zero? Most politicians would be ecstatic to win a suburban election district by a 2-1 margin.
A 157-0 margin is unheard of. And that wasn't even the GOP's strongest district in Lakewood. There was one that  the Republicans won by 428-7.

I've seen similar results in prior elections in Lakewood.  The reason is not far to seek. The town has the most sophisticated political machine in the state and perhaps the nation.

I discussed the recent results with Bob Singer, the Republican state senator from Lakewood who has been representing the town in Trenton since the 1980s. During that time the Orthodox Jewish community has continued to grow and has turned into a political machine that can deliver results like no other, he said.

"They  get the vote out," Singer said. "Unions can tell you they produce votes for you.  Lakewood can show you they produce votes for you."

They can indeed. And the mechanism behind this is one of the more fascinating political phenomena in American politics.

Before every election, a council of religious and business leaders known as the Vaad meets to decide which candidate will best serve the voters' interests, usually after interviewing both. A few days before election day, the choice is communicated to the voters. They carry out the Vaad's wishes – usually.

"Unions can tell you they produce votes for you. Lakewood can show you they produce votes for you."
There are exceptions, however. The 2009 race between Christie and incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine offers a perfect example.

"In that election, the Vaad said they wanted Corzine," Singer said. "But the religious  groups said, 'No, he signed the gay-marriage bill.' They rallied and they voted against him."

Instead of carrying Lakewood by 5,000 votes, Corzine lost it by 5,000 votes. The reason will warm the hearts of Republicans all over the state.

The key interests of the community lie in three issues where there is a sharp divide between the parties: School vouchers, abortion and same-sex marriage. The community favors the first and opposes the second and third.

That's how the political parties usually line up as well, so Republicans have a built-in advantage.  That advantage is growing by the minute.

"The only place in state where building is still booming is in Lakewood," he said.

 Singer says the Vaad can now influence 8,000 or so votes. The decision how to award them amounts to a 16,000-vote swing in a statewide election. That  could easily represent the winning margin in a close race. No wonder the politicians line up for those interviews.

Keady didn't even get invited for an interview this year.  But he's something of a 6-foot-4 Energizer Bunny and he  told me he's confident the Democrats can win the Lakewood votes even  though most Democrats, like him, oppose the community on those three social issues.

"It's really not the monolith people think it is," he said of the town, which also has large a Hispanic population as well as some big senior-citizen communities. "I think if there were a real organizing  effort on behalf of the county Democrats, it could be turned Democratic."

Well, they're certainly democratic in the small-D sense of the word. I've never heard of anyone working the levers of the democratic system more efficiently.

The governor had to yell at Keady to make him sit down and shut up.

These guys didn't have to utter a word.


  1. When there was an alternative that made sense the people of lakewood showed they do NOT listen to THE VAAD. Unfortunately the people have mostly given up. The Vaad simply tries to choose the candidate that will win anyways in order to create an illusion that hey have power. They chose Corzine because they assumed he would win. They are still paying the price for that bad decision. The only reason their puppets won again was because the alternatives were not an option. Who made sure that they were on the ballot to ensure Menashe and Meir can continue to destroy our town? They did.
    Who controls the media in the town that brainwashed the people into thinking that all is well? Yup. Same people.
    Funny that Bob Singer is quoted talking about the power of the Vaad. The same Bob Singer that the Vaad couldn't keep on the township committee?

  2. They keep painting a rosy picture while in reality homeowners are suffering because of the taxes, traffic is insane thanks to a select few in power that benefited on the backs of the olam. and yet like sheep we vote them in again

  3. The snub to christie when he first ran is still coming back to haunt the klal. Christie did not even ask for the endorsement he only asked for a meeting and they refused. Corzine promised the world. in the end most of Lakewood voted for Christie over the vaad backed candidate, Corzine.

  4. You must have missed Shenkys morning after congratulatory phone call?

  5. 157 does not sound like that many votes. where are the 8,000 bob singer claims the va'ad controls? btw, if you read the comments this mulshine guy is just a regular jerk.

  6. Sophisticated? Let me check the dictionary. It's not too sophisticated when everybody just votes without thinking about it. Something like sheep following one another to the slaughter.

  7. Its 157 votes in one small district