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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Rich and Richer

As Joseph Sapia and Lilo Stainton report in the Asbury Park Press, Doug Forrester defeated Bret Schundler in the New Jersey GOP gubernatorial primary this week, setting up a royal battle between financial bluebloods Forrester and current U.S. Senator Jon Corzine.

Forrester, worth more than $50 million, put $10 million into his campaign account for the primary. Corzine, worth an estimated $250 million, spent more than $60 million of his own money on his 2000 Senate race. Both of these men have shown a willingness to spend as much as it takes of their vast fortune to put themselves in political power.

So what's the effect of this ego-ridden largesse? Well, let's pretend that the extraordinarily rich like Corzine and Forrester don't actually represent the viewpoints of all New Jersey. Let's further pretend that there is a candidate who better represents the viewpoints of a greater number of folks in New Jersey than these two fat cats. Would that candidate stand on a level playing field with the money-driven media machines of these two multi-millionaires?

Obviously not. Instead of an exercise in democracy, the contest to be the next governor of New Jersey is a race to see whose fortune outlasts their ego. The political will of the people of New Jersey will suffer for it.

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