Democratic candidate Charles Tivanen has a game he plays while campaigning for the Senate in the 10th District in Ocean County: He offers $20 to those he comes across on the campaign trail if they can name the legislators in the district.
So far, he has not had to pay up.
But he will be lucky if his tactic pays off. The 10th is heavily Republican, as Tivanen acknowledges.
“It’s very tough to get elected as a Democrat in Ocean County,” he said.
His opponent, long-time Assemblyman James Hozapfel, is hoping to work his way into the upper house in this election.
Holzapfel has been an Assemblyman since 1994, before which he served as a trustee at Ocean County College and a prosecutor in Ocean County from 1987 to 1992.
A Brick resident, Holzapfel is currently Assembly Parliamentarian. He works as a senior managing partner for Citta, Holzapfel, and Zabarsky, a law firm in Toms River.
He did not answer repeated requests to discuss his campaign.
Tivanen has been an attorney for 30 years and has owned his own law firm in Brick since 1992. He is the public defender for South Toms River and is a former commissioner of the Brick Township Housing Authority.
“The only issue that anyone should really talk about is taxes,” Tivanen said. “It’s all I really hear about from clients.”
Tivanen said that jobs are a key issue in this election, but noted high taxes are never far from the mind of the public.
“Jobs is the most important issue if you don’t have a job,” he said, “but if you have a job, taxes is the most important issues because you have to pay taxes.”
Tivanen knows his chances are slim for election in the district, saying that he has run “a boots-on-the-ground sort of campaign.”
Still, he advocates for a change in representation: “There’s something to be said about someone putting a new set of eyes on the problems that have been in Ocean County for a number of years.”