By Michael Aron
NJ Today Chief Political Correspondent
Sen. Bob Menendez was at the Hudson County clerk’s office at noon today to cast an early ballot. He did it today, he said, to underscore for storm-weary New Jerseyans that there are alternative methods of voting this year.
“I’ve see the tragedy that some families are facing but that shouldn’t deter us from casting a vote for our future,” Menendez said.
The election was always about two different visions of the future, he said, but now even more so after last week’s disaster.
“Will we have a president and a Congress that believes in a strong Federal Emergency Management Agency that can respond to the thousands of people in our state who have lost their homes, who’ve lost temporarily their livelihood?” asked Menendez.
While Menendez was casting his vote in Hudson County, Joe Kyrillos was planning to make six stops before dark, beginning with a diner stop in Hackettstown, Warren County. The Republican challenger isn’t conceding anything today.
“Listen, we’ve worked really, really hard and I feel good about it because I know people want somebody like me and they want a change for America, and now we’ve gotta rebuild New Jersey,” Kyrillos said.
He said his own mind has been on the devastation of his neighbors in Monmouth and Ocean counties, the millions statewide without power and his own home where he has a generator but little gas.
“And of course it’s made the campaign for the final week, really 10 days, really, really hard when we wanted to communicate with people,” Kyrillos said. “So instead we’ve consoled people, we’ve lent some moral support.”
While Menendez is heavily favored, both men are predicting a win.
“We had a very robust lead from all the public polls and in our own polling. So I hope that’s ultimately what takes place tomorrow,” Menendez said.
“I’ve always believed this is gonna be a close race. I don’t think there’s been a single public poll taken since I’ve started airing broadcast television commercials for the final two weeks. So many people who were without power didn’t see them this week, but people who did have power saw them many, many times,” Kyrillos said.
Both men say it’s a good thing New Jerseyans still have different opportunities to vote, and want to see that franchise exercised.