By John BurtonThe lineup is set for the Aug. 13 special primary to replace the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg with four high-profile Democrats in the running. The list is leaner on the Republican side. It’s a race that one Two-River state senator opted to sit out.State Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos, Middletown, a more than two-decade Republican veteran of the Senate and longtime party standard-bearer, was on just about everyone’s short list of either being chosen by Republican Gov. Chris Christie to hold the U.S. Senate seat for the interim, and/or to seek the office for the remaining 13 months of Lautenberg’s term.The only Monmouth County candidate for the seat is U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., Long Branch, a 25-year Democratic veteran of the House who represents the 6th District.Kyrillos, 53, has opted out of running and this week discussed his decision with The Two River Times™.“I just ran my race and had an election about seven months ago,” Kyrillos said of being his party’s unsuccessful candidate against Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ. “It was great, I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said while acknowledging he ran into some insurmountable obstacles, which really made his 2012 run – always a long shot – that much more arduous.While deciding whether to run in 2011, he said, he “assumed three things. I assumed the national election would be a close one,” with Mitt Romney’s run for president offering some coattails. That however, turned out to not be the case with President Barack Obama winning the state by an even larger margin than he did in 2008.Another factor was Kyrillos’ hope that some of the allegations that had come out post-2012 election contending Menendez had ethical lapses, would have made their way into the headlines prior to voters going to the polls, he said.Third, and most notably – at least for Monmouth and Ocean counties, the home of Kyrillos’ base of support – was Super Storm Sandy striking so close to the general election. “It killed us in our base,” he said.“Mostly,” he said, “it’s a very tough state,” to run for statewide office under the Republican banner, as the electorate continues to skew blue, returning Democrats to those offices.New Jersey voters haven’t sent a Republican to the Senate since Clifford P. Case.“I’m really mindful of the difficulty of a Republican running in New Jersey in federal (election) years – especially in presidential years,” he said.With the rapidly approaching primary and looming special election on Wednesday, Oct. 16 – less than three weeks before the general election – the tightly compressed race would have been daunting to mount for anyone, Kyrillos said.Since he ran last year, that would have meant running for the statewide office again less than a year later and during a two-month period, and again in 2014 for a full six-year term; an exhausting – and expensive – prospect, even for a veteran pol.Paul Tsongas, the late senator from Massachusetts and presidential candidate, said money is the mother’s milk of American politics. It is what nurtures and nourishes political campaigns.Kyrillos said he raised about $5.5 million for his Senate run last year. It was a pretty good amount for a challenger but not nearly enough for candidates who have to have to buy advertising time in the expensive New York and Philadelphia markets to get their message out to Garden State voters, Kyrillos said.“You really need around 10 to 20 (million dollars)” to run an effective, winning Senate campaign, he said.Last year there were 33 Senate seats, 17 gubernatorial races, plus the full 435-member House with the presidency topping the ticket. “That’s a lot of competition for available dollars,” he said.Democrats voting in the Aug. 13 primary, will choose from four candidates: Pallone, against whom Kyrillos had run unsuccessfully in 1992; Rep. Rush Holt, D-12th, who has represented his district for 15 years; state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who represents Essex County; and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.Republicans will choose from two candidates in the primary: Steve Lonegan, former mayor of the Bergen County community of Bogota, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2005 and 2009; Dr. Alieta Eck, a Piscataway physician.Christie last week tapped Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to service in the Senate until the special election. He was sworn in Monday, June 10.With this roster, Kyrillos called Booker the “presumptive incumbent for all practical purposes,” saying the Newark mayor had marquee name value and fundraising ability and apparatus in place.But it’s still early in the process. “This year will be even still more unpredictable,” because it’s an “off-off year election” Kyrillos said. “The turnout may be even smaller and it may be a surprise result.”Having just fought back an unusual challenge for his Senate seat during the June 4 primary election, Kyrillos plans on campaigning for Christie – the two have a strong personal friendship that dates back to their college days – and for other candidates around the state.
Throughout the KIJHL season The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr will take a capsule look at the players on the Nelson Leafs hockey club. Today the focus in on starting netminder Andrew Walton.If someone in the crowd last year during a Nelson/Castlegar game had said in a year from now Andrew Walton would be wearing the Green and White and tending goal for the Nelson Leafs the response would have been:“Are you crazy?”But there was 6’1”, 170-pound Sunflower City native backstopping the green and white to a 3-0 victory over their Murdoch Division counterparts, in his hometown of Castlegar, no less, on opening night of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season.“I felt pretty good but that was definitely not the same (Castlegar) team as last year,” Walton said about the eventful night at the Community Complex.“(Sniper Ryan) Anysley wasn’t there so it’s not the same team as last season.”Fact is the 20-year-old goalie has moved on.Fact is Walton moved on last season when he asked for a trade in the middle of Castlegar’s amazing run that saw the Rebels make it all the way to the KIJHL final.“I just wanted to assure myself of playing in the Cyclone Taylor tournament,” Walton said when asked about the mid-season deal, a blockbuster trade by KIJHL standards.Walton got his wish. However, it was the road to the Cyclone Taylor Cup that he might have wanted to be traveled a little different.His former mates from Castlegar knocked Walton and the Ghostriders out of the playoffs during the Kootenay Conference Finals.A hiccup during the opener in Fernie proved to be the difference as the Rebels ousted the Riders in six games.Walton did get the last laugh against his former mates as Walton got a free pass to the Cyclone while Castlegar lost a heartbreaking KIJHL final to the Osoyoos Coyotes.But just when it appeared Walton would sip from the cup of Cyclone victory, the Peninsula Panthers skated away with a 5-3 victory in the tourney final.“That definitely sucked a lot,” Walton, still feeling that bitter taste in his mouth when the subject is brought up, said. “All of us could have played a lot better, including myself. But I thought during the game lot of the bounces went their way for sure.”But that was last year and this is a new opportunity for Walton.To be back in the West Kootenay, closer to family, and finish out his junior hockey career with the Green and White in Nelson.“I don’t really think it’s that big a deal,” said Walton about playing in Nelson. “It’s not like I necessarily going to be remembered for playing junior B in Castlegar.”Fans may not remember Walton in Castlegar in a few years.But the current Leaf players, especially the defence, will definitely have fond memories of Walton during this season.“He’s like another defenceman back there,’’ said Leaf rearguard Tyler Parfeniuk, one of two 20-year-olds, including Walton, that will be called upon to provide veteran leadership to this band of younger players on the Leafs.“He’s so cool under pressure and handles the puck so well.”Walton, enrolled in the carpentry program at Selkirk College, is eager to make this final season in junior hockey a successful one.After last season’s musical goalies between the pipes for Nelson, it’s obvious Walton will be a welcome edition to the Leafs.“I want to help Nelson go really far and win the league this year,” Walton prophesized. “I think we have a really good team here. We’ve got a really good bunch of guys and we’re only going to get better as the season goes on.”Andrew Walton Fast FactsPosition: GoalHeight: 6’1″Weight: 170 poundsHometown: CastlegarAge: 20:Favourite music: anything but countryFavourite NHL team: None really, but in a pinch Detroit Red WingsFavourite NHL player: Pavel DatsyukFavourite hobby other than hockey: Playing video games, NHL 12iPhone or BlackBerry: Knock off cell [email protected]