Graham’s offer of Free Food leaves a bad taste

Posted: March 28, 2013 in County Wide, Freeholder Race, New Jersey Primary, NJGOP
Tags: , ,

You see this kind of thing in the third world: Regimes using food as an inducement to vote a certain way. The United Nations got its knickers in a twist a few years ago, when the authoritarians who run Burma used the promise of free rice and cooking oil as an inducement to vote their way.

Closer to home there have been accusations by Republicans in the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections that Democrats were trying to induce voters with the promise of free food. In the 2010 race to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, Republicans were incensed by the liberal Democrat’s offer of “free food” at “voter turnout events.”

The Las Vegas Sun reported that the Republican’s lawyer called it “ACORN-style tactics” after the leftist organization that got caught up in scandal after the 2008 election. Republicans have called such tactics “voter enticement”.

In November of last year, South Dakota Republicans cried foul when Democrats offered free food at an event. Fox News reported: “The South Dakota GOP accused Democrats on Thursday of trying to buy votes by serving food at a series of get-out-the-vote rallies, but event organizers insisted their chili was legit.” Similar issues were raised in Denver, Colorado, and elsewhere last year by Republicans who claimed that the Democrats’ offer of “free food” was over the line.

Now it looks like a Republican has done the same thing right here in Sussex County. Earlier this week an email was sent to members of the Sussex County Republican Committee. In two weeks the members of the committee will meet to select a new Freeholder to fill the vacancy left by Parker Space, who resigned from the Freeholder Board on March 13 and was sworn-in as a new Assemblyman in Trenton on March 21.

The email contained an advertisement and a flyer to print out and distribute and the flyer was posted on Facebook. The advertisement makes an offer to those who will be voting to select a new Freeholder on April 12. The offer is from George Graham, one of two candidates currently running for Freeholder in that convention in two weeks time.

Graham’s offer is for free “lunch and dinner” to any county committee member or volunteer who attends an event at the Sussex Republican County Committee headquarters today, between 9AM and 9PM. The Republican County Committee headquarters in conveniently located over Homer’s Restaurant in Sparta.

Graham Flyer

The flyer erroneously lists Sparta resident and former Freeholder candidate Donald Ploetner as the contact person for the event. It also improperly displays the official Sussex County seal and a disclaimer that reads “Paid for by the Sussex County Republican Committee.”

It looks like the invasion of the Hudson County Democrats has begun. There are two political campaign operatives on the ballot this year with histories of involvement with the Hudson County Democrat Party machine: Candidate for Freeholder George Graham and Candidate for State Committeeman Rick Shaftan. We can expect more Democrat campaign tactics like this.

Sussex County generally has more class than this and most of its county committee members are not in need of a meal. There are many in Sussex County who are and their numbers are growing. If George Graham wants to make an offer of food, make it to people who need it.

If George Graham would like to show that he has the class to be a Freeholder representing Sussex County, he could do no better than to emulate County Clerk Jeff Parrott. Now there is a man with class who has done a lot to feed the people in Sussex County who really need it. His Champions for Charity group is recognized for the work it does to feed those who really need the food and guess what? Jeff Parrott never asks them how they are going to vote or if they are even registered to vote.

Here is what someone with class would have done. Someone with class would have asked the other Freeholder candidates to join him in asking each County Committee member to bring a few can goods to today’s event. Instead of buying a Republican official a lunch or dinner, they could have helped a family in need have an Easter dinner.

It’s probably too late to help people in need this Easter, but George Graham does have a chance to redeem himself. He can ask every Republican County Committee member to bring some canned goods or dry goods with them to the April 12 convention. He can show some class by not making it about him and his candidacy. He can ask the other Freeholder candidates to join him in the effort. That would be a class act.

  1. Spooner says:

    What’s for dinner?

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