Into the final stretch with the three District 23 Republican Assembly candidates

Into the final stretch with the three District 23 Republican Assembly candidates
Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio, and Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt

CLINTON TWP. – Undeterred by a hotel bar television set in the next room that jars the chandeliers with each apparent dramatic upswing, 50 people pack the chairs in the Holiday Inn ballroom here on the outskirts of downtown as three Republicans make their respective cases for why they should be the next assemblyman from the 23rd Legislative District.

It’s a comparatively quiet drama – quiet but intense.

Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson, and Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio have spent the last six weeks relentlessly crisscrossing the Warren-Hunterdon county line and engaging members of the GOP committees of these two rural and expansive west New Jersey counties.

They recognize faces in the crowd tonight, including that of Hunterdon County Republican Party Chairman Henry Kuhl, who impassively says to a visitor, “Welcome to God’s country,” to the question of who’s going to win the contest.

Sponsored by the Clinton Township Republican Club, this is the same brook and hamlet part of the state that launched the political career of U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton), a political moderate whose 7th Congressional District victory last year gave the GOP something to savor in an otherwise frigid political year for Republicans - but also left the harder right wing of the party agonizing about its future.

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Anti-organization GOP slate in Passaic has not addressed gubernatorial issue

A Republican splinter group from Passaic County last night unveiled a slate of three freeholder candidates and one county clerk candidate to take on whomever the local Republican organization fields in the June primary.

Members of the group, called GOP Strong, said that about 300 people turned out to a Little Falls union hall to see the three freeholder candidates -- Bruno Varano, a retired federal law enforcement agent from Wayne; Debra Andriani, a legal assistant from Totowa; and Robert Cruz, a Web developer from Pompton Lakes.  The group also fielded county clerk candidate Kristin Corrado, who has a law practice and is the Totowa Municipal Attorney.

GOP strong, which counts former Republican chairman Peter Murphy as a co-founder and is headed up by activists Michael Ramaglia and Michael Mecca, has been feuding with current Passaic County Republican Chairman and Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-Wayne) over control of the mainstream organization.

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Warren County freeholders wrangle with Doherty over borrowing resolution

Warren County freeholders wrangle with Doherty over borrowing resolution
Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.)

WHITE - After approaching the Warren County Freeholders at their meeting last week, Assemblyman Michael Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) plans to sit down with the freeholders this afternoon to try to convince them to pass a resolution banning borrowing at the county level without voter approval. 

It’s no declaration of political war, insists Doherty – simply a good government broadside and timely exclamation point on a crusade he launched a year ago.

“Voters approved the Lance Amendment (forbidding borrowing without voter approval at the state level), but there remains a huge loophole that needs to be closed for counties and municipalities,” said Doherty, a former freeholder who is pursuing an off-the-line run against state Sen. Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan Twp.) in the 23rd District.

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Diorio leaning toward rematch with Schaer and Scalera in 36th

In 2007, political novices Don Diorio and Carmen Pio Costa were largely overlooked in District 36 until after Election Day, when they surprised by coming relatively close to beating the Democratic incumbents,  Fred Scalera (D-Nutley) and Gary Schaer (D-Passaic).

Now, with East Rutherford Councilman Joel Brizzi making an unexpected exit from the Assembly race, Diorio appears ready once again to join forces with Pio Costa for a rematch against Scalera and Schaer.  Only this time, state Republicans say they are going to play in the district in a major way, making it one of their most targeted races.

At the moment, Diorio appears to be the favorite to win the backing of the Republican chairs from the three counties that comprise the district:  Bergen, Essex and Passaic.

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Monmouth GOP Chairman gives organization line to Christie

Monmouth GOP Chairman gives organization line to Christie

Monmouth County GOP Chairman Joseph Oxley has awarded the organization line to former U.S Attorney Christopher Christie in Republican primary for gubernatorial primary, and says he will take the advice of party leaders and elected officials, rather than hold a convention.

Christie had overwhelming support from the Monmouth GOP steering committee, which is made up of elected officials and municipal chairs, according to a PolitickerNJ.com source.  Earlier this month, the Christie campaign released a list of 58 Monmouth endorsements.

"Support for Chris Christie in Monmouth County is broad, strong and enthusiastic," said Oxley.  "The excitement this morning clearly indicated that Chris Christie's hard work in building grassroots support throughout the county has cemented his status as the Standard-bearer for the Monmouth County GOP in both June and November." 

Oxley said in a statement that all past and present state, county and elected Republican Party officials and incumbent Municipal Chairs were invited to hear presentations from the gubernatorial candidates. 

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Roughneen says he'll run for Somerset Freeholder

Roughneen says he'll run for Somerset Freeholder
Thomas Roughneen

Attorney and Iraq War veteran Thomas Roughneen says he'll seek the Republican nomination for an open seat on the Somerset County Freeholder Board.  

“I came to the decision on Monday and made some calls yesterday,” said Roughneen, who subsequently submitted a letter to the municipal party chairs and to Somerset County GOP Chairman Dale Florio.

“It would be a privilege to serve the people,” said the candidate, who is one of three Roughneen brothers who have either served or are serving in Iraq. 

Roughneen, a Watchung resident, is the first of last year’s unsuccessful 7th Congressional District GOP candidates to formally submit a letter of interest to party members. 

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LD 23 Assembly candidates attend forum tonight

Three candidates running for a vacant Assembly seat in the 23rd Legislative District are scheduled to appear tonight at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Clinton Township Republican Club.

The event will feature candidates’ opening comments, and then questions from the audience.  It starts at 7 p.m. in the Regina Room of the Holiday Inn in Clinton Township. 

The candidates - Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, Hunterdon County Freeholder Erik Peterson, and Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio – will compete Saturday in a special convention held by the joint Hunterdon/Warren County Republican Committees at the Clinton Township Middle School.

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Sordillo considers another freeholder bid

Sordillo considers another freeholder bid
Warren Township Deputy Mayor Victor Sordillo

Warren Township Deputy Mayor Victor Sordillo may pursue a run for the seat veteran Somerset County Freeholder Rick Fontana is vacating at the end of his term this year.

“I have not ruled out running at this time,” Sordillo told supporters in a Tuesday night email. 

The 2007 candidate for freeholder and 2008 candidate for U.S. Congress said he plans to meet with Somerset County Republican Party Chairman Dale Florio to determine a course of action.

“If I can add something to the field of candidates by stimulating ideas and debate, I will enter the contest,” said Sordillo. “If I believe that the choices are sufficient to ensure the strength of the party, I will become an observer and supporter this year.”

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The Back Room

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 22nd

Winners and Losers: Week of September 15th WINNERS Chris Christie NBC News reported Thursday evening that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined after a nine-month investigation that there is 'no evidence" so far that the governor had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures...

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Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

Sports and politics do mix: Welcome the next NFL Commissioner, Condi Rice          There are many sports fans who insist on believing that old bromide that sports and politics do... more »
(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"In many ways, Fulop has embraced McGreevey’s granular-level approach to retail politics, racing around the state to raise money for congressional candidates in South Jersey one night, showing up at a Morris County Democratic Party function the next. His administration has also awarded legal work to Weiner Lesniak, the Parsippany-based firm run by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the Union County Democratic Party power broker." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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