By Wally Edge | April 29th, 2009 - 11:00am
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One of the best legislative contests of the 20th century came in 1955, when two future billionaires faced off to represent Somerset County in the New Jersey State Senate. The Republican incumbent, magazine publisher Malcom S. Forbes, defeated industrialist Charles W. Englehard, Jr. by just 370 votes, 19,981 to 19,611.

Forbes launched his political career four years earlier, at age 31, when he mounted a massive door-to-door campaign to defeat the incumbent, Freas L. Hess, in the Republican primary. Hess, 55, who had the backing of the Somerset GOP organization, had won a Senate seat in 1947 after nine years in the Assembly that included terms as Speaker and Majority Leader.

Forbes spent his first year in the Senate organizing a drive to draft General Dwight Eisenhower to sek the 1952 Republican presidential nomination -- over 30,000 New Jerseyans signed petitions in support of Eisenhower -- and almost immediately began his campaign to run for Governor in 1953.

The race to succeed two-term GOP Governor Alfred Driscoll attracted ten other candidates: Senate President Samuel Bodine of Hunterdon County, former Congressman Clifford Case, State Senator Alfred Clapp of Essex County, state Conservation and Economic Development Commissioner Charles Erdman, State Senator Kenneth Hand of Union County, State Treasurer Walter Margetts, former New Brunswick Mayor Frederick Richardson, Assemblyman Fred Shepard of Union County (a conservative who headed Ohio Senator Robert Taft's campaign in New Jersey), Republican State Committee Finance Chairman Webster Todd (the father of future Governor Christine Todd Whitman), and New Jersey Turnpike Authority Chairman Paul Troast. Alvin Van Schoick, a 74-year-old caddy from Long Branch, and Charles Klein, a guard at Rahway State Prison, were also in the race.

The Back Room

Sources: Why Fox?

With the support of Gov. Chris Christie, Jamie Fox is on the fast track to get back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The question is why?

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 19th

NBC News: Federal charges ruled out for Christie in Bridgegate scandal NBC News tonight is reporting that federal investigators say after nine months of investigating Bridgegate there is 'no evidence" that Gov. Chris Christie had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures at the...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“The fact is that they’ve been digging around for eight months now and have found absolutely nothing. Wrap up your work. Do your job." - Gov. Chris Christie

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