by Kevin Elliker

When my older brother graduated from college, he moved back in with my parents, got a job as a lifeguard and spent the summer looking for full-time work. Hank Lyon went a different route. After graduating from Holy Cross in 2010, and while working for his parents’ various businesses, he decided to run for the office of freeholder in Morris County, New Jersey. Things didn’t quite work out as smoothly as he’d hoped.

Lyon entered the field as a candidate in the June 7 Republican primary election. His only competition: Margaret Nordstrom, the 12-year incumbent, thrice chosen as the freeholder board’s directors, and a former mayor of Washington Township. In putting together his campaign, Lyon made his father campaign treasurer and became a partner in his parents’ LLC. His father claimed that by making Hank a partner in the LLC, Hank could convey to voters his personal interest in property taxes (presupposing it would be tough to convey that interest when you live at home with your parents).

Nordstrom, aware of her opponent’s family resources, kept close watch on Lyon’s campaign finance filings. It didn’t seem she had much to worry about; a month before the election, Lyon’s campaign had collected a little less than $5,000 (compared to her $10,000). Based on those figures, Nordstrom knew Lyon couldn’t spend as much as she previously anticipated, so she scaled back her campaign. This was reinforced when Lyon listed $636.88 as his campaign balance on the 11-Day Pre-Election Report. Continue reading