Remember May?

Remember how desperate New Jersey was to get more people to roll up a sleeve? While they eventually made their goal it was in doubt then if enough people would accept the COVID vaccine to stop the pandemic.

They offered all kinds of things as incentives including a “shot and a beer,” free admission to state parks, and oh yeah…dinner with Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife.

It was a talk show host’s dream. While other states were entering vaccine recipients into lotteries for a million dollars we could make fun of Murphy for thinking he was a good prize. The audacity, am I right?

Turns out within days of announcing the vaccine incentive 13,000 people had entered. That was still May so I don’t know exactly how many were entered when it was time to choose a winner.

I do, however, know how it went.

The Saunderlin family of Alloway in Salem County won. The dinner was Monday night at the governor’s mansion, Drumthwacket, in Princeton.

It was Beth Saunderlin, a 66-year-old retired teacher, along with her husband Bill and her 23-year-old son Gareth. It was actually Gareth’s idea to enter the drawing.

Gov. Murphy and his wife shared a meal of Jersey tomato salad, Jersey scallops, and deconstructed cheesecake. What Phil, no grapefruit and broccoli?

How did Murphy like having his dinner guests? He sent out a tweet of course.

As for Beth Saunderlin, she said the night was “delightful” and said she’d have the Murphys to her home anytime.

“The goal was to get the vaccine. This was a lovely, lovely bonus,” she said.

Which I feel confirms what I said all along. The type of people who would want to have dinner with Murphy were the type who already planned on getting vaccinated. I don’t think this so-called prize brought many people to the other side of the fence.

Beth Saunderlin says she’s not a political person and didn’t want to talk about whether she supports Murphy or one party over another.

She told nj.com, “I’d rather not get into the politics of it.”

MmmHmm. Okay. Just pass the deconstructed cheesecake, whatever the heck that is.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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