Mike Doherty has seemingly done the impossible.
In 2002, he was elected to the New Jersey Assembly. He has never been a party man, but always has been a man of integrity and principle. A West Point graduate who served for eight years in the Army as an artillery officer, Doherty has three sons currently serving in the military.
He has consistently bucked the Republican Party leadership while standing up for his own convictions. For example, in last year’s presidential election he committed what amounted to apostasy in the eyes of both the state and national Republican establishments: Rep. Doherty supported Ron Paul for U.S. President. He even went so far as to give a speech at a rally on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall at which Paul directed a tirade in the direction of the Federal Reserve building nearby.
According to columnist Paul Mulshine, a reporter who frequently covers libertarianism and New Jersey politics, “I first became aware of [Doherty's principles] in 2001 when he was a freeholder. A judge threatened to throw [him] in jail if he wouldn’t change his vote and approve construction of a county college.” Says Mulshine, “Doherty stood up. The judicial system backed down.”
This year, Doherty began his campaign for an open State Senate seat, facing opposition from Republican Marcia Karrow. The RLC endorsed his candidacy. Doherty risked his safe Assembly seat to enter the primary against Karrow.
Ms. Karrow circulated a flyer accusing Doherty of advocating “surrender in Iraq” — most likely because he supported Ron Paul. Says Mulshine, “Karrow decided to make Doherty’s support for Paul a central theme of her campaign. And if Doherty supported Paul, then Doherty supported surrender in Iraq. Or so the logic went.”
Continues Paul Mulshine, “It didn’t go very far. Neither Paul, who is also a veteran, nor Doherty supports surrender in Iraq. They simply support the Constitution, which calls for wars to be declared by Congress and then fought to the quickest conclusion possible. That is a stance popular with many military men.”
Doherty defeated Karrow in the primary. Doherty now becomes perhaps the most prominent conservative in the New Jersey Republican Party. Keep your eye on him.
Mulshine says that “Doherty showed an ability to rouse a crowd that is almost entirely lacking among GOP politicians.” He continues, “The reason is not difficult to discern. He actually bases his positions on principles. Among Trenton Republicans, that’s a novel concept. But sooner or later they might be tempted to try it.”
The district Doherty is running in encompasses rural Warren and Hunterdon counties and is safely Republican, making it likely that Mike Doherty will be moving up to the Senate come 2010.
You can learn more about Mike Doherty or donate to his campaign at http://www.mikedohertynj.com/.