HAMILTON -The independent expenditure ads have taken chunks out of these two people running for the state Senate in the always casualty-strewn 14th Legislative District.
Now there are only three and a half days left and it’s brutal.
The U.S Senate chamber glow still on him, Sen. Cory Booker landed in LD14 today to boost the Democratic ticket, alongside the un-Booker, retail fireplug state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14).
Insiders sometimes underestimate Greenstein as the nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn, but she has beaten up the last two Hamiltonian men who ran against her in back-to-back contests and now she is trying to get through former state Sen. Pete Inverso.
“Right now I have to beat him because the material coming out of his campaign is a bunch of lies,” Greenstein said of Inverso, a former state senator turned CEO of Roma Bank.
Moments after Booker left, bound for another campaign pit stop, the Democratic state senator was working the hands of kids juggling phones in campaign headquarters on the final weekend of the campaign.
“The information against us is completely untrue and the information from our campaign is true and he doesn’t like it,” Greenstein said. “He should be ashamed of it.”
Greenstein is especially irritated by mailers put out by the Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee asserting that she “failed to fund public pensions and benefits” during the Corzine years, which isn’t true.
For Inverso, the pro-labor union Greenstein has her own indulgent way of stretching the truth.
“She’s trying to portray herself as a bipartisan lawmaker,” said Spencer Sullivan, Inverso’s campaign manager, referring to Greenstein’s signature ad. “Chris Christie did a commercial opposing Greenstein where he objected to her calling herself bipartisan and cited her as an obstructionist.”
Christie’s pro-Inverso cable ad has run down the stretch of this final week.
Sullivan noted that Greenstein tried to block the public pensions and benefits overhaul ram-rodded by Christie, precisely the fight that Greenstein proudly cites as her pro-public sector union battlefront.
“Senator inverso has denounced third party involvement in this race since day one,” Sullivan said. “He sent her a letter calling on her to denounce them and we never heard back from her. We have been denouncing ads the whole time.”
Politican insiders both inside LD14 and beyond its borders continue to question how other contests will impact the LD14 Senate tilt in this Democratic-leaning swing district.
Christie has a commanding, double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Barbara Buono in Democratic polls, boosting the spirits of Inverso supporters. Democrats fret that Christie’s popularity combined with the perceived strength of incumbent Republican Mayor Kelly Yaede of Hamilton will sandwich Greenstein.
Inverso’s candidacy adds an X factor his challenger predecessors didn’t enjoy: over a decade and a half (1992-2008) of service in the chair Greenstein now occupies.
But the sitting senator has the combination of heavy labor backing in a labor district, Senate majority resources, the alliance of Hamilton labor leader Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo of the IBEW, and her own individual reputation as a fierce campaigner.