Eight independents and third-party candidates also running

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    TRENTON - They gather the required 800 signatures, turn in the paperwork, print out their campaign literature, set up the web sites and hope that someone, somewhere in New Jersey, notices that they’re running for governor. Support for the eight independent and third-party candidates barely registers in polls. Come January, it’ll be Democrat Jon Corzine or Republican Doug Forrester who will have his name on the Governor’s Office door. And yet the eight lesser-known men and women on the ballot still have a chance to highlight issues that otherwise wouldn’t be known. Political philosophies span the political spectrum, from the Libertarian stances of Jeffrey Pawlowski to the views offered by Socialist Workers candidate Angela Lariscy. ``It is kind of common wisdom in America that the good of third parties is to highlight the issues that the two major parties might take,’’ said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College. Here’s a short rundown of the eight candidates who are challenging the two-party establishment this year: -Wesley Bell, 68, of Manahawkin, is an ex-Stafford mayor who said he would cut taxes by eliminating unnecessary government departments and firing ``political hacks.’’ The owner of billboards in South Jersey, Bell has refused to pay certain state taxes on the business and plans to sue the state. ``I feel I could do the best job anyone has ever done as the governor of New Jersey,’’ Bell said. ``I get so aggravated with both Democrats and Republicans. They support someone just because they’re the party leader.’’ -Hector Castillo, 49, of Paterson, is a physician who made an unsuccessful run for Paterson mayor in 2002. His two top issues are corruption and high property tax bills. He’s touting such proposals as equitable distribution of property tax revenues across all school districts, letting seniors defer paying property taxes until they are dead and an elected attorney general. Castillo said New Jerseyans are fed up with the two-party system represented by Corzine and Forrester. ``Everyone’s fed up with the two politicians who have bought everyone else out,’’ he said. -Edward Forchion, 41, of Pemberton Township, is best known for his nickname, ``N.J. Weedman.’’ A previous candidate for a seat in Congress, Forchion has formed his own party, the Legalize Marijuana and Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians Party. His platform is self-explanatory. Forchion has been arrested a number of times for smoking marijuana in public, including at the Statehouse and in front of the Liberty Bell. He said his campaign is a way to get back at the politicians he blames for a previous prison sentence. He acknowledged that he has little chances of winning. ``I’m not that high, dude,’’ he said. ``I didn’t smoke a truckload.’’ -Angela Lariscy, 40, of Newark, said she is pushing for ``working-class alternatives’’ to New Jersey’s problems as the candidate for the Socialist Workers Party. Lariscy, a garment worker, is using the campaign as a way to promote the right of workers to organize labor unions. ``The main thing we’re campaigning around is support of workers’ struggles to form trade unions and using them to defend against the bosses’ assault,’’ Lariscy said. -Michael Latigona, 39, of Marlton, is a registered nurse who touts himself as an average New Jerseyan better able to serve the state than professional politicians. ``I’ve spoken with Democrats and Republicans alike and they all agree we need to make the same reforms, property tax reforms, auto insurance reforms and more. We have to come together as a people. We’re all New Jerseyans,’’ Latigona said. -Jeffrey Pawlowski, 46, of Sayreville, is running as the Libertarian Party’s candidate, campaigning on a platform of an open, less intrusive government providing citizens with more rights - property rights, gun rights, more lenient drug laws and more. A former borough councilman in Sayreville, Pawlowski said he would serve as a volunteer governor. ``The honor of serving the people of New Jersey is payment enough. I will refuse a salary and benefits if elected,’’ he said when announcing his candidacy last June. -Tino Rozzo, of Vineland, promises to lower property taxes, revamp the public transportation system and fight corruption if voters pick him and his Socialist Party platform. ``We need to set news goals and strive to make the quality of life better for everyone. We can have sustainability, clean energy, meaningful jobs, cooperative development,’’ Rozzo said on his Web site. -Matt Thieke, 44, of Maple Shade, is a computer software analyst running as the Green Party’s candidate. He said he would battle political corruption as governor, spending government funds on the cities and schools instead of ``corporate welfare’’ projects. Winning the governor’s race, Thieke acknowledges, is a long shot, but he hopes his campaign raises awareness about the Green Party as a genuine alternative to the major parties. ``We don’t take money from developers or anyone looking to do business with government. We don’t take money from business interests or PAC contributions. We aren’t looking to get into office to make ourselves rich or our cronies,’’ Thieke said.