David Von Savage

Power shift turns into Donohue surge in Cape May County

Power shift turns into Donohue surge in Cape May County

Two longtime Cape May County freeholders, including the director, on Tuesday night announced they won't seek re-election, almost completing the transition to the Donohue era in Cape May politics.

The Daniel Beyel (pictured)/Ralph Sheets announcement came on the same night their colleague, Gerald Thornton, whom they tried to unseat, and Sue Sheppard, the new freeholder who unseated their candidate, took the oath of office.

Freeholder Director Beyel backed an establishment ticket in June 2010 supported by former County GOP Chairman David Von Savage. That ticket suffered a crushing defeat in June to the upstart Thornton-Sheppard campaign led by current GOP Chairman Michael Donohue.

With the power curve bending away from the Von Savage era and into the wheelhouse of Donohue, Beyel and Sheets saw they were likely to be challenged in a June primary and elected to retire, sources say.

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Von Savage's run: 14-year Cape May GOP chairman retires tonight

Von Savage's run: 14-year Cape May GOP chairman retires tonight
Cape May County GOP Chairman David Von Savage

David Von Savage shook off the punch he took at the ballot box last Tuesday by going on a long, liberating bike ride on Saturday: from High Point down to his own Cape May, the tenth time he's made the trip since 1999.

Chairman of the Cape May Republican Organization for 14 years, Von Savage endured the loss of his two freeholder candidates Ralph Bakley and John McCann to insurgents Gerald Thornton and M. Susan Sheppard 28-22% last week in what he calls a "perfect storm" against incumbents.

"It hurts. You long for vindication," he told PolitickerNJ.com a few hours before his figurative walk up the steps of the court house in Cape May tonight to officially resign as chairman and hand the gavel to attorney Mike Donohue, who runs unopposed. 

"You've been villified and you want to figure out how to get back, but I made my announcement to my leaders last week," Von Savage added. "I thanked my leaders, and I asked how they wanted to handle the convention. I appointed a chairman pro tem to run tonight's meeting. It's my time to fade. It's the right thing to do. It was so divided, the best thing I could do was bail. You have to know when to fold, and like my wife said, 'You live by the sword, you die by the sword.'"

Among current or just retired GOP chairmen, Von Savage is the fourth longest serving Republican in the state after Henry Kuhl in Hunterdon (30 years and counting), Dale Florio in Somerset (18 years), and George Gilmore in Ocean (16 years).  

Departure after last week's loss presented the right narrative arc for Von Savage: to start as an insurgent ally of Frank LoBiondo's in 1994 against the establishment forces of Bill Gormley, and to finish at the hands of another insurgency - one that the hard-edged conservative leader relishes as a groundswell against Democratic Party power.


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Report: Von Savage out as Cape May GOP chair

The Press of Atlantic City is reporting that Cape May County Republican Chairman David Von Savage has resigned his post.

Von Savage's candidates for freeholder lost in Tuesday's Republican Primary.

"It's been a good run, and now it's time for somebody else to do it," Von Savage told the paper.

Republican sources say former Assembly candidate Michael Donohue of Dennis Townsip will be the party's choice to replace Von Savage, who served as chairman for 14 years.

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On a bad night, Democrats pull off huge win in 1st district

If there was one bright spot for New Jersey Democrats last night, it was in District 1.

In this southernmost district in the state, incumbents Nelson Albano (D-Vineland) and Matt Milam (D-Vineland) held on against Republicans Michael Donohue and John McCann by a relatively comfortable margin.

The two were thought to be the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this year, since they represent a traditionally Republican district that is dominated by Cape May County - where Christopher Christie did especially well.  Perhaps considered most damning for their chances was the absence of state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis), whose coattails helped get Albano elected in 2005 and Milam in 2007, from the ballot. 

But Van Drew was anything but absent from the campaign.  He played a crucial role in it, folding his two running mates into his independent brand and campaigning as if he were on the ballot himself. 

"Do I feel like I was on the ballot in a way?  Yes, because I have a commitment to them and the people in this district that we'll stand up and continue to do what is right regardless of party politics," he said, adding that the candidates still had to win on their own merits "regardless of how much help they had."

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(CAPE MAY, October 15) – The Cape May County Regular Republican Organization, under the leadership of Chairman David Von Savage, came out in full force yesterday afternoon to welcome Republican Lt. Gov. nominee Kim Guadagno to an endorsement press conference in which all the county’s major GOP elected officials officially endorsed GOP nominees Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno for Governor and Lt. Governor, respectively; the two Assembly candidates, Mike Donohue and John McCann; and the incumbent Freeholder running for reelection, Len Desiderio.

Von Savage calls Shaftan 'reckless;' Lonegan backs primary challenges to three congressmen

Von Savage calls Shaftan 'reckless;' Lonegan backs primary challenges to three congressmen

Cape May County Republican Chairman David Von Savage said today that he does not agree with U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo's (R-Vineland) vote on cap-and-trade, but that conservative political consultant Rick Shaftan is “taking advantage of a highly volatile situation” by helping candidates take up primary challenges against three Republican congressmen who voted for cap-and-trade legislation on Friday.  

“I think Rick Shaftan is reckless," said Von Savage. I understand Rick is a vendor, and therefore looking for willing accomplices to advance his financial endgame.”  

Von Savage, whose county is entirely represented by LoBiondo, said that he does not agree with the his congressman's vote.  Instead, he favors tax incentives for alternative energy development and over  “punitive levels of taxation” to wean the United States off foreign fossil fuels.  

“While there are issues regarding the Congressman’s vote with conservatives in the party, I think it’s irresponsible for Shaftan to be sticking his nose down this way,” he said.  “Respectfully, what he ought to do is consider relocating to the south and utilizing his approach to campaigning south of the Mason-Dixon Line.”

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Clark not completely ruling out candidacy in LD1

Former assembly candidate Norris Clark has not completely ruled out running to fill a vacancy in the 1st Legislative District, but he acknowledged facing several serious obstacles to making another go for it.

Citing business obligations, Upper Township Committeeman Frank Conrad dropped out of the race over the weekend, leaving Dennis Township attorney Michael Donohue, who ran with Clark in 2007, as the only remaining candidate in what is expected to be the most competitive district in the state.  Although Clark talked to Cape May County Republican Chairman David Von Savage about running after hearing of the vacancy, Ocean City GOP Chair John McCann had already started rolling up support and important endorsements.  

“I have never stopped considering another run for Assembly, as I am very interested in public service, and I believe the Democrats are taking us in the wrong direction at the state level,” said Clark, who had set up an exploratory committee leading up to the election.

Clark said that there are four factors that tend against him mounting an internal campaign: his own work commitments; the lack of interest shown by Donohue in running with him again; that McCann is already “in sync” with Donohue’s campaign; and that he is interested in running for Cape May County freeholder the next time the all-Republican board has a vacancy.

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Process set for selecting new LD1 candidate

The Republican organizations of Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties each have just over a week to pick a new running mate for assembly candidate Mike Donohue.

The organizations have set a deadline of Friday at 4:30pm to receive letters of intent from interested candidates, and each will vote separately on a candidate before by 4:30pm on Wednesday, July 1.  

It remains to be seen if it will be a contest.  Former candidate Frank Conrad dropped out over the weekend, leading Ocean City Republican Municipal Chairman John McCann to immediately start campaigning to replace him.  McCann wrapped up an endorsement from Donohue and party officials from the district’s towns in Cumberland and Atlantic Counties, but there have been some rumblings of interest from Norris Clark, who ran in 2007.

Despite expressing interest to party leaders in Cape May, Clark has not yet filed any letters of intent or contacted officials from the other two counties.  He could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Cape May GOP backs Christie for Governor

Cape May County GOP Chairman David Von Savage says that his organization has endorsed Christopher Christie for the Republican nomination for Governor, becoming the seventh county organization to put the former U.S. Attorney on their line. 

"Governor Corzine obviously does not understand that the hardworking taxpayer is asked to reach deeper and more often into his pockets year after year to pay for the mistakes of our leaders in Trenton and Washington," said Von Savage, who is among the most ideologically conservative GOP party chairs.  "Chris Christie gets it and he is on the side of the taxpayer."

Von Savage said that Christie will run on the Cape May County Regular Republican Organization line with first district Assembly candidates Mike Donohue and Frank Conrad, and Freeholder Leonard Desiderio.

"Donohue and Conrad will vote for the reforms in a Christie Administration that are absolutely necessary to roll back the size of government, get it off our backs and out of our wallets," said Von Savage.

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The Back Room

Sources: Why Fox?

With the support of Gov. Chris Christie, Jamie Fox is on the fast track to get back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The question is why?

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 18th

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“We’re going to hold the line until hell freezes over, and when hell freezes over, we’re going to hold the line on ice skates." - Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-31), at yesterday's SEIU 1199 rally.

- PolitickerNJ


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