Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Running for Congress: Learning How to Campaign

When I started this blog, I promised to document my run for Congress as best as possible. It won't be easy to recall all of the exciting elements of the experience and I may over explain some non-sense and under explain some important items. Please leave a comment if there is a hole that needs to be plugged, questions about my story or if you met me somewhere and want to add to my story, please comment. This recap may make me look like a genius or it may prove me to be the average no one I have always insisted that I am. It might help me if I ever wanted to run for office again, or it might hurt me if I ever try to run for office again but I'll at least be as honest and open as I can remember the experience. My perspective of the story might be damaging, embarrassing, insulting or give more credit than is deserved to certain individuals or it might not be any of those things and might leave out important individuals or minimize the importance of some people. In any case, what I will write as my time permits is my experience, from my perspective, and I will preface each entry in my blog on the topic of "Running for Congress" with this same disclaimer, or a like disclaimer if I think it needs to change. Here goes...
Part 1 - Running for Congress: The Beginnings
Part 2 - Running for Congress: Getting on the Ballot
Part 3 - Getting on the Sabrin Line
Part 4 - Realization that the Sabrin line meant failure
Part 5 - The Monmouth County GOP Nominating Convention
Part 6 - Meeting the Bloggers
Part 7 - The Middlesex Convention and Meeting my Opponents
Part 8 - Learning How to Campaign
Part 9 - Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend
Part 10 - Trying to Capitalize on a FEMA/”BEMA” Meeting
Part 11 - The Last of the "Big Events"
Part 12 - The Calleia Murder Trial and the Wrong Priorities in Media
Part 13 - The Door to Door Effort, and Notable Characters
Part 14 - Primary Day, and Night
Part 15 - Random Observations During the Campaign

Since I still didn’t know what I was doing, or how to campaign, and the meetup still wasn’t being helpful, I figured the best thing for me to go do at that point was to learn who I was running against. If I’m running for office against these guys Peter and Bob, I figured I should know at least a little bit about them, find out what the other voters know about them, what their platforms are and what they were doing to earn votes. I figured it’s the year 2008 and any legitimate candidate should have some kind of website or some kind of public presence I would be able to find online, so I went searching, hoping for better results that “Barry Goldwater” had found.

My research eventually made me to believe that Robert McLeod, the candidate, was also known as Judge Robert McLeod, a judge. WOW! I bet he was like a Supreme Court Justice. I bet Judge McLeod has made some decisions that were not only groundbreaking but also set judicial precedent for many other cases. Then I got lucky and found just a few news stories that seem to be about my opponent, Bob McLeod. I quickly “summarized”, as if I’m ever short on words, my research about Bob, and sent it off to the bloggers who were at least entertaining my efforts and I posted it on a few forums I’m a part of. Art, of the More Monmouth Musing blog who over time became my most vocal “big time” supporter, was the first to publish my research on his blog.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I'm liking that James Hogan kid running for Congress
I like his spunk. His candid way of expressing himself. I like that he has no idea what he's gotten himself into, yet he keeps plowing ahead wanting to make a difference. I like him because he makes me laugh.

Here's an email exchange we had this afternoon:

Subject: Who is the "Rob McLeod" guy I'm running against? I found out!

I thought I would forward this over to you as I had emailed it to a few other people who seemed surprised at what my quick "research" turned up. Before you get to this long email, you owe me a "I told you so" because I'm pretty sure it was you who told me "Andy will be gone as quickly as he came". It's crazy the way the system work and I'm learning more and more about how it works each day which is just building my motivation and drive more and more.

Anyhow, thanks again for the support you've shown me in the past and I look forward to EARNING your support, and vote, through November and through my term in office. As always, I'm open to critisism, comments, suggestions, new issues or new perspectives on old issues. The email I had sent to a few people this morning follows.

James Hogan

I did some quick searching - after all, it is the year 2008 and Google is everyone's best friend, right? I was thinking that if this McLeod guy was a career judge, I'd have to find *something* about the guy... so to Google we go:

Robert McLeod Congress -- in Google turns up nothing - I shouldn't say that - it turns up a few blogs that mention my name and ask "who the hell is McLeod?" Interesting.... FWIW - trying "James Hogan Congress" turns up many links to my website and other websites that contain information, forums posts, opinions, etc from me.

So I continued on in my search for Mr. McLeod:
Judge Robert E. McLeod -- turns up nothing really - you'd expect SOMETHING in a 15+ year career right? The few interesting things that DO come up:
1) http://www.atlantichighlands.net/news/010628/hawley_complaint.htm
from 2001 - nothing of real substance in my opinion - a dismissed political case - seems like real non-sense to me - hopefully this was dismissed without too much tax payer money wasted on court expenses/salaries/etc and hopefully an innocent individual who was accused of some crime didn't have to wait too long for their "hearing" while this case was "heard"... not bad so far, dismissed a silly case, looking good... and
2) http://www.holmdeltownship-nj.com/content/1066/1088/default.aspx - pay your traffic tickets here..... uhhhh "yuck"! So it APPEARS that I'm running against the traffic court judge - you know the guy who
presumes you guilty until you can convince the prosecutor to let you off "cheaper". Mr. McLeod has made his career taking the money of his neighbors through traffic tickets in a "court" without a jury. I think
we've all been to traffic court a few times and you certainly aren't getting a fair trial there, and there is certainly no presumption of innocence, and Mr. McLeod was the guy taking revenue for the township, great, thanks for your work in the community.

But I wasn't willing to stop there - there HAD to be more this guy has done in 15+ years, there just had to be....
So I try -- "Judge Robert E. McLeod" (ie, the name in quotes) and BINGO - NOW I remember why the name sounded so familiar! From Google Cache:

This was the judge who heard the "case" of the St. John Vianey Girls Softball coach who was accused of, and admitted to, and even returned the "fence gate" and this is the judge who wanted his 15 minutes of fame at the tax payer's expense and made a decision that the coach was guilty but said that the coach should immediately appeal his decision because it was a bad one. HUH!? That is the guy who wants to write the laws now??? A traffic court judge who tries to hear a potentially "real" case and bobbles it so tremendously that he makes a knowingly bad decision and immediately recognizes the bad decision and says someone else should make a better decision, ridiculous! "Following two days of testimony....Kommendant was ordered to pay $316 in fines and costs" *2 DAYS* of us tax payers paying for a court (at the tax payer
expense) and the coach/criminal pays $316. Remember that number, this is leading somewhere, but don't forget McLeod found him guilty but knew it was a bad call - in fact, McLeod seemed to think the whole case was ridiculous but rather than dismiss the case and save the tax payers some money, he wasted tax payer money and cost a good citizen, a good coach, a lot of money and a good career.

At this point, I knew there HAD to be more - a guy who makes such a crappy decision after 15 years of work HAD to have screwed up big at least one or two more times... and then I found IT.....

This is the judge, who ordered 13 youths to pay a $500 fine each for drinking alcohol at PNC bank arts center! So again, $316 was paid by a 39 year old softball coach that this "judge" determined (poorly in his own words) was a thief who stole $9,000 worth of goods but some "kids" who drink alcohol at a concert are expected to pay $500 each for their "crime"? That somehow makes sense to this guy? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, criminalize the youth of America, charge them more money than they might get in gifts for a few birthdays or a holiday - I suppose that according to Mr. McLeod, since they are "kids" they deserve to be treated WORSE THAN CRIMINALS, just for being "kids", and since these "kids" can't vote, Mr. McLeod will surely criminalize the youth of American even more should be be elected and the youth of America, who have no voting rights or representation, will just suffer the wrath of this out of control, traffic court judge.

Mr. McLeod, a traffic court judge, who doesn't have a website outlining any of his political positions two months before an election, is clearly out of touch with the youth, the future, of America Moreover, this traffic court judge clearly is unable to make firm, sound decisions in his own court, and yet he believes that
somehow he can represent "we the people" and make sound decisions for us in Washington DC? Please, save me the time and tell a friend about this traffic court judge's history of wasting tax payer money and making bad decisions - if needed, I'll be glad to provide references from any and all of my previous bosses and co-workers who can attest to my ability to make a sound business decision, quickly, and have that decision proven to be a sound, reliable, long-term good decision that is to the benefit of my employer. As a representative, you, the people of New Jersey are my employer and it is you for whom I need to answer to, serve and make sound decisions in order to represent you best.

James Hogan


> Hey Jim---
> I told you so!

Classic. :-)

> Thanks for the email. I'm going to use it on my blog
> Art

As I've said to others, I appologize that my writing is not more "official" or "professional" looking and ready for the easy "copy/paste". I write and say what I think and I don't hold much back which seems to lead to rambling sentences. Also, a fellow youth rights supporter friend of mine thinks it is wrong of me to attack a judge's decisions or the legitamacy of his court room - I can see how and why someone might look at my research and conclusions that way, however, my point is simply that in a long public career as a judge, one would hope to find many cases of good judgement and 15+ years of good examples of fair and equal judgement and it seems like the few cases that you can find attached to his name have rather disappointing turnouts and I'm willing to bet (and bank on) Average Joe Voter not voting for the guy who collected their parking ticket money, nor do I think that Average Joe Voter is going to vote for someone who makes a decision that is knowingly wrong. I mean, I for one, don't want a representative that agrees to some act of Congress and then says "but we should undo this legislation later cause it's wrong". Again, I
wouldn't tell my boss "I knowing coded all of this system poorly in a depreciated language which is a bad decision but you can always hire someone else to clean up the code and rewrite it later", that's just silly talk.

Anyhow, keep up the great work on your blog. I've been checking/reading daily since I last emailed you, good stuff.

James Hogan
Posted by Art Gallagher at 3:43 PM

So there it was, evidence that Bob McLeod was just a traffic court judge and it doesn’t seem like I was running against some well known, high ranking superior court judge even. To make things better for me, this blogger Art, who seemed to be a popular guy with a busy website, was helping me spread the word. There was no website, no platform, no forum posts on any message boards, nothing to be found anywhere except for these few news stories, and now my “research” about him was the only thing one could find in Google.

I suspect that Mr. McLeod must be a reader of Art’s blog, or someone pointed Mr. McLeod to Art’s blog, and a “debate” if you will broke out on Art’s blog with Mr. McLeod making his first (and only) public statement, essentially dismissing me as a candidate.

Friday, April 11, 2008
Judge McLeod responds to Hogan
Hogan's diatribe on opponent in MoreMonmouthMusings

James Hogan has demonstrated that he has one unfortunate trait common among politicians. He can express himself at length on matters of which he knows little or nothing.

He apparently believes that everything which comes before courts is a waste of taxpayers' money. Would he believe that if he were the one seeking relief or vindication? I happen to agree that much of what goes on in courts is a ritualistic travesty and a waste of taxpayers money, but it is Democrats like Frank Pallone who have added to the problem by consistently opposing tort reform and restraints on frivolous litigation and by elevating procedure over substance . Mr. Pallone and the Democratic party are purchased representatives of the trial lawyers lobby.

If people are interested in serious discussions of national issues my website went up today as a part of MonmouthCountyRepublicanParty.org., click "Our Candidates." It contains some discussions of Mr. Pallone's voting record and also researched, referenced discussions of important public issues. It will provide a contrast to Mr. Hogan's verbal meanderings.

Robert E. McLeod
"Border Control & Fair Trade"
Posted by Art Gallagher at 3:34 PM

At no point did Mr. McLeod even try to defend himself against any of my claims and research. Mr. McLeod linked to a few MS Word Documents that contained some kind of position statements and then tried to condemn me for suggesting some of his court decisions were nothing more than a waste of money (which isn’t his fault. He was just following the law as its written), and then while condemning my assertion, he “happens to agree”, go figure. The usual characters chimed in with their comments and I certainly was going to make the most of this battle, so I fired back as quickly as possible, hoping that if nothing else, I would draw some information out of McLeod that I could blast him on, or generate enough interest to have some press hosted and promoted debate.

My response was lengthy, at a point mimicking McLeod’s own reply, and sadly, Mr. McLeod never replied. If he did, Art didn’t publish his reply and no one emailed me a reply. With no excitement, the “debate” was over.

James Hogan said...
Art, sorry to hijack your blog, but I think this is worth me taking the time out of real campaign work to reply. :-)

Mr. McLeod says:
"He apparently believes that everything which comes before courts is a waste of taxpayers' money.... I happen to agree that much of what goes on in courts is a ritualistic travesty and a waste of taxpayers money"

So I'm again confused by your "decision", sir. Are you condemning me for believing "much of what goes on in courts is a ritualistic travesty and a waste of taxpayers money" or are you agreeing with me, but still condemning for something you agree with? Why does this situation sound familiar? We'll need a decision please; actually, no big deal if you can't decide, we're used to that, maybe it's easier if you just leave this bad answer and ask the nexy guy, Frank, as I march over him all summer long and through November.

If people are interested in serious discussions of [more than 4] national [and local] issues [that aren't just the same scripted, typical, standard position papers] my website has been up [since I got into this race] for a month now at the easy to find and easy to remember URL http://www.HoganForCongress.com/ It contains some honest, passionate, truthful, emotional and also researched discussions [of dozens] of important public issues that were written by me personally, not a PR guy, and not edited, reviewed, approved or screened by any third party. The casual "average Joe" approach to discussing the issues will provide a stark contrast to Mr. McLeod's tiresome dissertations that Average Joe isn't going to waste time downloading in propriatray, potentially virus containing, MS Word .DOC format.

James P. Hogan
"Not a one word candidate... with a website"

- Eric S - Would I have to pay royalties on those slogans? :)
I'm sorry that we don't agree on every position - I think trying to get people to agree on every position is irrational and unlikely - I do hope that I've addressed enough other issues that are important to you and that I've explained enough about who I am that I can EARN your support, even though you can't vote for me. If I don't get your support on those issues, at least you and I know that you're not supporting someone who stands for something opposite what you want. Are you sure that Mr. McLeod supports the positions important to you? I still haven't seen him address many of the issues, can you help me find those positions in case he wins the nomination in June? Regarding an interview with your website, again, I'm easy enough to find and contact. As for the geese issue - you'd be AMAZED at how many people really get passionate one way or the other about those disgusting creatures, strange it may seem, but its a real issue around here, and a real waste of money to pay to protect them then pay to undo the protection so that we can pay to chase. I'm all for letting the locals deal with it - not the federal goverment - obviously enough people in Long Branch (and Colt's Neck) are willing to spend the money to get rid of them - if only they didn't have to pay so many times to get rid of them. If "the local people" want to protect them - let them pay their local leaders once to protect them, seems easy/obvious to me.

- My friend, Mr. Goldwater (*IF* that's your real name!) :) - you haven't seen anything yet - wait until I get to take on "Mr. Environment" Frank Pallone (hint: see my page on Monmouth Park, or the FEMA Re-Zone, or any other page on my easy to find website) - not only will I be self promoting better than Don King - I'll be pushing the wrecking ball over the eggshell that protects Pallone.

- ambrosiajr - "impossible" has never stopped me before. "Impossible" is what gives me motivation to succeed. You are correct that winning this race is a dream of mine - who hasn't dreamed of a better place than what Pallone has left us with? And I believe that I stand for making this district, and country, a better place. We'll find out if I can reach enough people who have also dreamed of a better place soon enough. Impossible? Possibly. But I'll be out on the streets bright and early tomorrow morning continueing my door to door effort. It's not easy, and it may seem "impossible", but I'm no quiter and if I lose, it will be because I just didn't get to knock on enough doors. Your help by just telling a friend or two would be HUGE to me.

- Teddy - (*IF* that's your real name!) - I'm glad I have your support - I just hope that I've EARNED your support through my positions and explaining who I am and as I tell everyone else, if there are issues important to you that I haven't addressed, I'm easy to contact - through my easy to find website - let me know what is important to you and I'll do the research needed to learn about the issue and you'll know where I stand on the issues important to you. Even if it means that I lose your support, I'd rather you know where I stand on issues important to you rather than assume, and assume wrong, and be upset me with when I'm in office next year. Again, thank you for your support and I hope that I can continue to earn and win that support for at least the next two and half years or so.

- Lugar96 - Aren't you also the same person who accused me of being a Murray Sabrin clone on Barry's blog? Please find where Murray has written or indicated his positions on the issues I've addressed. The fact is (as you noted) that Murray and I share a number of *similar* positions on some national issues that are important to me personally, namely youth rights and foreign policy, which is what makes it logical for me to be a Murray supporter and for Murray to support my candidacy in return, and thus for us to run together on a line. No reason to go after McLeod? I'm not sure I was "going after him" - I simply provided my own conclusions to my own research of who I'm running against, because I couldn't find a website for the guy with the election around the corner. I'm pretty sure that I remember meeting you as well and you seem like a stand up guy who is interested in the issues. If it's issues you are concerned with, I've outlined where I stand on a number of those and I'm willing to lose support based on issues. It's your decision to make and I respect your right to make your own decision, but I personally I think it's crazy to not even consider the issues because you associate me with whatever group label you associate with Murray Sabrin. Again, I've outlined as best I can exactly who I am and what I stand for and have made clear decisions. If you have more questions about me or the issues, then once again, easy to find, easy to contact, blah blah blah... hoganforcongress.com ... :)

- Art - I'm glad I make you laugh and if making you laugh is enough to EARN your support, I can try to come up with a knock-knock joke section or something on my easy to find website, just for you, once I've addressed ALL of the other real issues, including the real issue of the fricken geese that Eric find strange. Please note that I too am laughing because you chose to copy/paste my email in the exact state as it was sent; who'd of thunk something I wrote was "copy/paste" worthy!? My writing skills must be improving already. And again, sorry to hijack your blog, but I feel like thanks to your blog, we at least got to know a little bit about Mr. McLeod and now we know where he stands on *4* issues that every republican has the same stand on anyway....

Friday, April 11, 2008 11:04:00 PM

With McLeod “exposed”, I tried to find out about Peter. I got zero results. Not long after I posted about Bob McLeod and had given up on Peter, Eric of RedJersey eventually found and shared some kind of comment left on a NJ.com story where Peter was once again ranting against the elected officials.

With McLeod “exposed”, I tried to find out about Peter. I got zero results, which was promising for me but sad to see yet another candidate making no effort to reach voters over the internet, which is a rather popular media these days. Not long after I posted about Bob McLeod and had given up on Peter, Eric of RedJersey eventually found and shared some kind of comment left on a NJ.com story where Peter was once again ranting against the elected officials.

Posted by stamptongs on 04/04/08 at 10:17PM
My name is Peter Cerrato; I am the owner of Charles Stamp Shop in Edison; as a citizen of New Jersey I have had enough of CRIMINALS running our state. Last year America celebrated the 400th anniversary of its founding at Jamestown and the 225th anniversary of the Constitution; this year is the 250 anniversary of the Old Barracks Museum, 400th anniversary of the Hudson River, 225th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris, 150 anniversary of Lincoln Douglas debate, and next year is the 200th Birthday of President Lincoln, 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights signed first in Perth Amboy, 100th anniversary of NNACP. We need to have another AMERICAN REVOLUTION against the Parties of TRAITORS posing as good citizens before they get elected. I am referring to all elected officials and their supporting staff. Since the beginning of America we elect people to represent us and guide our County down the path of righteousness so WE THE PEOPLE can enjoy the GOD given FREEDOMS expressed and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. The document that seen its birth right here in Perth Amboy, New Jersey 220 years ago. Why is it that these ELECTED OFFICIALS who pledge and swears allegiance to uphold the beliefs written in the Constitution and then break their OATH are not punished more severely as TRAITORS? Not only should they go to jail they should also loose their houses, cars, boats, stocks, bonds, money and pensions when they are convicted. Why should the dishonest, corrupt public official come out of jail without suffering financial loss as do WE THE PEOPLE they serve do by paying for their corruption? It cost the taxpayer an additional $50,000 a year for room, board and health care which goes up every year by 10% plus for their dishonesty. Their estates should be taken to cover the cost of their imprisonment like it would cost the average person his house if he did not have medical insurance. Senators Lynch, Sharpe James, John J. Montefusco Sr, and Robert Stears. Moneys alone would fix most of the states debit and send a message to others to be honest. Take all the convicted politicians and their private partners over the past three year’s monies, properties and we would balance the budget. If the Democrat Party can get the State Supreme Court to change the law to allow Senator Lautenburg to enter the race for Senator against Doug Forrester then they should be able to take away everything from these TRAITORS.

Peter’s only public comment seemed to confirm my “angry little man” opinion of the guy. Aside from the “My name is Peter Cerrato” line, I could have guessed this angry comment was written by Peter as it seemed to be the same spit covered speech he had delivered at the Middlesex County Convention and I was now sure that beating both of these guys would be a cake walk, all I needed was for either of them to tell (or yell) the voters who they are and what they stand for and I’d be a shoe in for Congress. It also seemed like in the world of bloggers I was, maybe sadly, a better choice than the other guys, or at least a harder worker.

Coming up next- Steve Lonegan Becomes My New Best Friend! - Ok fine - Mr. Lonegan probably has no clue who I am but for about 5 minutes one night he did.

1 comment:

Albany Lawyer said...

You think way too much of New Jersey traffic court judges. :-)
Great effort in your campaign. The deck is stacked against us. Keep trying, and learning how to do better.