Toms River Resident Ramps Up Campaign for 3rd District Seat
Robert Witterschein will appear on the ballot in November as an Independent candidate
Independent Congressional candidate Robert Witterschein is rededicating his efforts after some time away from campaigning.
Witterschein, 37, of Toms River decided to run for the 3rd District seat held by Republican Rep. Jon Runyan after seeing the economy crash in 2008 and the political mudslinging since, he said.
A workingman with two jobs just to pay for a portion of his health insurance, Witterschein took some time off from campaigning. His first child was born in June, just after he reached 100 signatures, more than enough to qualify to be on the ballot.
“With everything 90 days away, I’m getting back into it,” the 1993 Lacey Township High School graduate said.
Unlike Runyan, who raised more than $2,000,000 or Democratic candidate Shelley Adler, who raised more than $1,000,000, Witterschein raised just enough to cover the cost of his website.
“Unfortunately, for people like me, I’m at a disadvantage to begin with. I’m not one of the major parties,” he said.
Witterschein is running on the platform of a constitutionally based limited federal government, he said.
“It’s a real shame how the process goes. Unless you’re a big name or have a lot of corporate sponsors, they’re not interested in hearing from you,” he said. “It winds up being a money contest.”
Elections are comparative to an auction, he believes.
“It goes down to the highest bidder. That shouldn’t be a part of the government process,” he said, adding that whoever is selected as the congressional candidate should serve the constitution and the people.
Bucking the Two-Party System
Witterschein said if more people knew about the other candidates, they might be less inclined to vote simply Republican or Democrat.
“If they realize there is someone who isn’t actually one of them (Republican or Democrat), if they heard about somebody unknown, research them, and know about them, they’ll be more inclined to vote for that person,” he said.
Many have been receptive to Witterschein, he said.
“The people that I really talk to, when they sit down and listen to what I have to say, I actually garner their interest,” he said. “I’ll sit down and tell it like it is. Even if they disagree with you, they even appreciate someone who tells the truth.”
Witterschein gets mixed reviews from the Tea Party, he said.
“Tea party people seem to go with the status quo. I’m seeing it now with how they support the candidates, and I’m seeing it with the presidential race,” he said. “They change positions like they change underwear. They go back to the lesser of two evils.”
Many Tea Partiers are choosing to support Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney because he has the best chance against President Barack Obama, he said.
Witterschein has come into contact with many individuals — Republican or Democrat — who say, “If you don’t vote for Romney, Obama will get re-elected and it will get even worse,” or vice versa.
“I always tell everyone, ‘Evil will always prevail when the good people do nothing to stop it,' " he said. “Who determines who has the best chance to win? This is where all the big money interests get involved.”
Federal Reserve, Prosecuting Politicians
Witterschein blames the Federal Reserve for many of the nation's economic ills.
The Federal Reserve is like a private bank that creates money out of nothing and gives it to those in power, Witterschein said.
“Government engages in spending because the Federal Reserve prints it out and gets it to them. Of course it will never be paid back. All the Reserve wants is the interest. They want us, the people, to pay for it,” he said.
“When you look at the reckless spending, wars, all the bailouts that happened, it’s all because of the Federal Reserve,” he said.
Another focus for Witterschein is holding those currently in office accountable, he said, which he intends to do whether he wins the election or not.
“Everyone keeps saying we got to get these people out of office but we keep replacing them with the same people,” he said. “Politicians really need to be prosecuted.
“Perjury and obstruction of justice are two things at the minimum that these politicians can be prosecuted on,” he said, adding that if a prosecutor can’t be found to take on cases against the politicians, individuals will need to file lawsuits.
Runyan, for example, voted to extend the Patriot Act three times, he said, and he voted to allow the Transportation Security Administration to continue the body searches at airports and the National Defense Authorization Act.
“All of these things are violations of the constitution,” he said. “Everyone talks about how he’s a fiscal conservative, here’s a guy who voted against the Constitution and voted to raise the debt ceiling.
“I think this needs to be carried out nationwide but people need to start local,” he said. “We need to start holding the people in our districts accountable. Almost all of them violate the constitution in one way or another.”
Needs to Raise Funds
With limited time and resources, Witterschein intends to keep reaching out to the people, especially on the Web. He also plans to hold some events locally in Ocean County and possibly in his Lacey home.
“I have to do some fundraising. I don’t get money from big-money interests. I depend on money from the average person and lets face it, the average person doesn’t have money,” he said.
The funds raised will continue to go toward his website as well as other campaign strategies such as lawn signs, he said.
“I’m just trying to do the best that I can,” he said.
A graduate from Shawnee State University in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Witterschein has been working in the field for seven years.
Many have questioned Witterschein how he could even run with two jobs and a newborn, he said.
“I put my name on the ballot. I had a billion reasons not to do it, but what do I wait until I’m 60 years old and say that I did nothing? Do I wake up and tell my child that I did nothing?,” he said. “Regardless of this election, I plan to run again. I’ll run as many times as necessary.”
More information on Witterschein can be found on his website. Also, click here to read about where Witterschein stands on many of today’s issues.
Witterschein also can be found on Facebook. He'll also appear in an interview on Comcast On Demand next month.