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(Woodland Park, NJ) Declaring that it was time for Passaic County Republicans to stop fighting among themselves and focus on fighting Democrats, the county GOP Chairman John Traier welcomed dissident Republican Peter Murphy back into the fold at a press conference on Lincoln’s Day.
Recalling President Lincoln’s iconic phrase that a house divided cannot stand, Traier said the years-long divisions in the party had to end for the Republicans to have any success in this year’s county elections, which include the re-election Republican Kristin Corrado as county clerk.
Speaking before a gathering of party and elected officials that included State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40) and West Milford GOP leader Dan Jurkovic, Traier said the moment signified “a rebirth of the party,” and added that: “We will never get anywhere if we keep fighting among ourselves.”
Corrado and Murphy, a former county and municipal GOP chairman from Totowa, thanked Traier for extending the olive branch that brought them back into the fold of the county organization. Corrado was elected clerk three years ago with the help GOP Strong, an insurgent organization that was formed with Murphy’s help.
“If John didn’t put this together I don’t know where the Republican Party would be,” said Murphy. “He’s (Traier) the best man for the job and I will follow his lead to bring a Republican victory this year.”
O’Toole who has represented parts of Passaic County for 11 years in the state legislature praised Traier for having the patience to work to create this unity moment for the party.
“John Traier did something today that I thought was impossible – he threaded the needle and I don’t know how you did it. How you brought the party together,” said O’Toole.
The senator noted that in his time representing Passaic County, that there have always been friction points in the county organization that resulted in needless Primary Election battles, but that now it’s time to put the differences aside.
“John you are our leader,” said O’Toole. “I want to thank you for the work you did; thank you for volunteering so much of your time to make this peace within the party a reality.”
O’Toole – a former Essex County Republican Chairman, said being a county leader is a thankless job that brings with it plenty of critics and not much glory. He said it takes a person like Traier, who has character and persistence to bridge the factions that exist in any countywide political organization.
“It’s time to put pettiness aside and move forward. I’m here for you, John. Whatever the chairman wants I’m here,” O’Toole told the crowd.
Assemblyman Scott Rumana, a former county GOP chairman, who also represents district 4O said: “I commend the county chairman’s attempt to unify our party.”
And District 40 Assemblyman David Russo said he is glad to see the county organizing is unifying. “Intraparty fights are a costly distraction that Republicans cannot afford,” said Russo.
Jurkovic said he sees positive results coming from the unity effort that is bringing Murphy’s faction back into the fold. He pledged his support to work with Traier and Murphy to elect countywide candidates.
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