New guard

Political newcomer, 28, ousts longtime mayor, a man who had been in power since she was 1 year old

Julia Fahl. (Facebook)

Julia Fahl, a 28-year-old first time candidate who won the Democratic primary Lambertville, N.J., mayoral race in June — upsetting an incumbent who had been mayor nearly as long as she had been alive in the process — is the latest young woman to score a shocking victory against the grain of the political establishment. Her secret? A practical plan to modernize her city’s local government, and a broader wave of fresh energy from Democratic women who are sick of letting men who have been in control for years and decades hold on to the reins of power.

Before one can even enter the home of Fahl and her wife and campaign manager, Kari Osmond, 31, one has to first tread on a welcome mat that reads: “The Patriarchy” — a fitting message for an upjumped professional fundraiser whose recent defeat of Mayor Dave DelVecchio marked the first time in DelVecchio’s 27 years in office that he had actually faced a challenge, according to The New York Times. Many have compared her candidacy to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another 28-year-old Democrat who has upended the political establishment through a grass-roots campaign. But Fahl says she’s more of a “Clinton”-style moderate than the unabashedly progressive Ocasio-Cortez, and that her main political goals are a practical restructuring of a municipal government that she says has remained unchanged for far too long.

“My argument was that after 27 years in a position, you stop asking why you do things or how you could be doing things better and you just say this is how things are done,” Fahl explained. “And there is a slew of things that are happening in this town that makes absolutely no sense.”

Fahl said she decided to announce her candidacy after she and her wife, a state director for a member of Congress, tried and failed to find anyone willing to run against a man that most in the town know simply as “Mayor Dave.” And there was a familiar force that ignited her political ambitions. She said that Trump’s election had helped energize the Democratic party and sparked a slew of women running for office for the first time.

“I think people are thinking they should have done more in the presidential election, so they’re getting a lot more active now,” added her opponent, Mayor DelVecchio. “But it’s definitely a good time to be a woman running for office and it has been for some time, but now more than ever.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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