PISCATAWAY, NJ - On August 14th, 2010, delegates of the Reform Party of New Jersey gathered in Piscataway for the party's first convention in over a decade.
The Reform Party of the United States was America's most successful third party during the 1990s. The populist appeal of candidates like H. Ross Perot, Jesse Ventura, and Donald Trump helped to establish the party as a viable centrist alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.
Perot nabbed twelve percent of the vote during the 1992 presidential election, and another eight percent during his 1996 bid. In 1998, Jesse Ventura was elected the governor of Minnesota.
The party's success came to a halt at the beginning of the millennium when it was successfully neutralized by lawsuits and in-fighting; the New Jersey chapter, which once ran candidates like Pat DiNizio for Senate, became inactive following the 2000 election.
Now a group of dedicated activists has revived the party.
During the convention, the party elected the following officers:
Jake Zychick, a blogger and student at Farleigh Dickinson University (who was New Jersey's delegate at the 2008 Reform Party of the United States convention in Dallas, Texas) was elected the party's chairman.
Dennis “DJ” Mikolay, Atlantic Highlands Herald columnist and Monmouth University student, was elected Vice-Chairman and Treasurer.
LaMont Rouse, an activist from Warren County, was elected the party secretary.
The party will also run its first candidate in over a decade. The delegates unanimously voted to nominate activist Mark Quick as their congressional candidate for New Jersey's fifth congressional district.
Quick has been a vocal critic of Republican Congressman Scott Garrett, whom he says has failed “to address issues that affect working families.” Quick claims that American's complaints regarding illegal immigration, health-care costs, and the war in Afghanistan “all fell on Congressman Garrett's deaf ears.”
Quick will appear on the ballot in November as an independent, and the Reform Party officers say they look forward to November.