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Murray Sabrin: Time is Ripe for Libertarian Movement in New Jersey

by Dennis "DJ" Mikolay, published
Last year, former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was elected to the United States Senate following a special election that pitted the Twitter superstar -- among the most recognizable politicians in the state -- against ultra-conservative Republican Steve Lonegan. It was a polarizing race, and though most considered the competition to be a near-guaranteed win for the Democrats, the Republican nominee came closer to victory than any other GOP candidate in recent memory. Now, with the remainder of late-Senator Frank Lautenberg’s term coming to a close, Senator Booker is up for re-election.

Due to Senator Booker’s superstar status, very few Republicans have expressed an interest in vying for the seat. The two most highly speculated hopefuls, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and State Senator Michael Doherty, both declined to run, creating a void in the GOP.

Thus far, four candidates have expressed an interest in running: pro-lifer Richard Pezzullo, businessman Brian Goldberg, former FBI agent Robert Turkavage, and Jeff Bell, who was the Republican candidate for Senate in 1978. Now, with the June primary mere months away, a fifth contender may be on the horizon, as it has been speculated that economist Murray Sabrin, known for various published works, a best-selling book, and a radio show, may enter the race to fill the partisan void.

“The fact is, there was a vacuum in the major candidates stepping forward,” said Sabrin. “Given the issues that are on people’s minds, and that are having a detrimental impact on our economy and our position in the world, I thought that what I have been proposing for many decades will and should be embraced by the electorate.”

Those who follow the balance of power in Trenton will likely remember his 1997 gubernatorial candidacy, which earned almost 5 percent of the vote on a third party ticket, or his quest for the Republican Party’s nomination for United States Senate in 2000 and 2008.

Though his previous major party candidacies failed to survive beyond the primaries, respectable showings solidified Sabrin’s reputation as one of the state’s foremost proponents of libertarianism. Today, the political environment is very different than it was 6 years ago, and it could prove more favorable to Sabrin’s then-radical message.

“I think what’s happened is conditions changed and people realized that the problems we are facing today come from excessive government,” said Sabrin. “ I think the time could be absolutely ripe for sending someone to Washington who is going to shake things up!”

Though Sabrin has yet to officially decide whether he wants to enter the race, his supporters see this as a golden opportunity. With libertarianism currently en vogue in Washington, the time seems ripe for the economist to re-enter the electoral arena. Anti-war and pro-individual liberty, Sabrin served as congressman Ron Paul’s New Jersey campaign manager during the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, a position that helped introduce a new generation of libertarian activists to the economist’s views:

“I have been promoting these ideas for 40 years now and the question is, ‘when is the time ripe for these ideas to be embraced by the electorate?’ I think the time is now because conditions have confirmed what I have been saying, that we cannot have big government and prosperity at the same time, that we cannot police the world, and that our civil liberties should be secure in the United States as opposed to being trampled by these government agencies that are spying on our cellphones, e-mails, and computers.”

Sabrin, who endorsed Steve Lonegan’s primary opponent last year, is very different from the previous Republican nominee. He doesn’t cater solely to the base. Instead, he believes that the key to victory is the inclusiveness of the libertarian message, one that can appeal to individuals from all parties and all walks of life.

“I think I have a good shot of being the nominee if I get the backing of the political leadership in the state,” said Sabrin.

“If I run, the goal of the campaign will be to bring in Republicans, Libertarians, conservatives, independents, disaffected Democrats; in other-words, build a grand coalition that would carry the day in November. You can’t win just with the Republican voter base in this state because they are outnumbered two-to-one in registration. You need the Democrats and all the other groups in this state that want to see some changes and see someone carry the banner of liberty oriented policies in Washington.”

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