Today’s Herald, Oct. 30, will be the final edition of our local paper before next Tuesday’s election, a final chance for candidates to make their case and talk about our vision for a brighter future. 

The ad placed by Norris for Middle is the last word from my campaign, a campaign about bringing folks together and putting Middle Township first!

In contrast, my opponent’s last words to the voters are not about any plans to improve our community. There is no unifying message. Instead, Mike Clark launched another absurd attack against Mayor Donohue. 

First, Clark insinuated the mayor was a racist. Clark was roundly and properly condemned in public by all fair-minded citizens. While Clark sheepishly removed the offensive claim from his ad (silently admitting it was wrong), he has refused to apologize for smearing the good name of Tim Donohue, and his family. 

Next, Clark claimed Tim Donohue was a step away from being a dictator. Yet, it is Donohue who started the movement to expand the size of the governing body and explore a change in our form of government. I join the mayor and deputy mayor in supporting this initiative. 

When I’m elected, it will mark the first time that all three members of committee will favor letting the people decide the future form of our government. 

Mike Clark has fought that effort at every stage and dismissed the hard work and sound recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Board. Clark is happy with the closed system that saw the well-connected few control Middle for 75 years. Apparently, it’s only an issue when he’s not in charge. 

Finally, we reached the height of absurdity. 

In today’s Herald, Clark calls for a state ethics investigation into Tim Donohue. The mayor’s crime? 

While working hard to promote the Harvest Festival on the township’s Facebook page, Donohue inadvertently posted pictures of a campaign event that were meant for his personal page. Once the error came to light, the pictures were immediately removed, and the mayor apologized. 

It was a mistake that was quickly rectified. Now, Clark is demanding an investigation into campaign law violations?

This is the same Mike Clark whose campaign is headquartered and run from a local law firm. A law firm whose clients have major issues pending before the township committee, issues Clark has voted on, when he clearly has a conflict of interest. 

You want to talk about campaign ethics violations?

To summarize, while my campaign has focused on the issues from day one, Clark has been obsessed with attacking the mayor, who isn’t even on the ballot. It’s never about Donohue’s record of accomplishments (which Clark is more than happy to take credit for), but vile and personal attacks that bring politics in Middle to a new low. 

He’s basically calling the Mayor a racist, unethical dictator. It’s truly shameful. 

I had hoped this campaign would be an honest debate about ideas and vision. A civil discussion about what is best for the future of our town. 

I’ve been having that discussion with voters for eight months now. It’s been a great experience. But, Mr. Clark has chosen not to participate. 

He had no interest in a debate. Other than his attacks on the mayor, he’s had little to say. He takes credit for the work of others while offering no real plan for a better path forward. 

It’s sad. Mike Clark has lost his way. On issue after issue, he’s taken positions contrary to the best interests of our town. 

When I called for a ban on out of town dredge spoils, Clark stood up for special interests, putting Ocean City’s need for a dumping ground over our need to protect our natural resources. 

When I joined the mayor and deputy mayor in supporting Chief Leusner’s opposition to recreational marijuana, Mike Clark refused to join us. 

I stepped up to stand with Sheriff Nolan against Gov.Murphy’s radical sanctuary state policies. Mike Clark put Murphy’s interests first. He voted NO on a resolution to support the sheriff and the rule of law. 

 I’ve pledged a zero tax increase in 2020. In five of the last eight years (when Republicans held the majority), municipal taxes have not been raised. 

 In just two years as mayor, Mr. Clark raised taxes nearly 8%. The choice is clear. 

Ike Gandy’s landslide victory over Jeff DeVico was a resounding repudiation of the Clark agenda, and Mike Clark’s leadership as mayor. Voters knew that electing Ike Gandy meant no more Clark as mayor, and Ike won big. 

It’s time to finally slam the door on the smear tactics and politics of the past. Finally, end the nearly 80 years of the good old boy network that has ruled our town. 

Over the past several months, we’ve seen two very different campaigns play out. I’m proud of my campaign and all the folks who worked by my side to drive our positive message for a brighter future. I don’t think Mr. Clark can say the same. 

His desperate tactics, employed to cling to power at any cost, have been painful to watch, and have done long term damage to the integrity of our public discourse. They should not be rewarded by the voters. Middle Township deserves better. 

Vote for a future of open government that works for YOU. Vote for a new generation of leadership to lead us into a challenging future. 

 On Nov.5, vote Jim Norris for township committee!

 Putting Middle Township First!

Ordered and paid for by Norris for Committee, 113 S. 10th St., Del Haven, NJ 08251.