Conservatives should have a say in the NJGOP


In September I began to question the leadership of the NJGOP about why they had failed to provide basic campaign materials for the November election. These included lawn signs for the Presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, as well as other campaign materials like door-to-door literature, walk lists, stickers, etc.

The responses that I received from the State Committee Chairman and his paid staff were less than satisfactory. The NJGOP simply failed to mount even a limited grassroots effort to defeat Barack Obama in New Jersey, despite having raised $1.5 million for its federal account (FEC) during the cycle and having nearly $500,000 on hand when it was suggested that they print and distribute lawn signs across New Jersey.

The results of Tuesday’s elections show us what happens when we fail to mount even a basic effort at the top of the ticket: Republicans at every level suffer.

Bergen County lost two Republicans on the Freeholder Board, causing Republicans to lose control of the Board. In Cumberland County, Democrats sweep two Freeholder seats, with the loss of Republican control there as well. Democrats had a three-seat sweep of the Passaic County Freeholder Board - defeating the three incumbent Republicans who ran and won on Christie’s coattails in 2009. The Board is now 7-0 Democrats. In Burlington County Democrats sweep two Freeholder seats, leaving Republicans clinging to a 3-2 majority. In Atlantic County, Democrats defeated incumbent an At-large Republican Freeholder. Republicans still hold a 7-2 majority there. In once rock-ribbed GOP Somerset County, it looks like Republicans have barely held on to two Freeholder seats. There were two legislative special elections for Assembly seats. In the 4th District, the Democrat won handily. In what was the solidly Republican 16th District, the race is too close to call and as of Friday, votes were still being counted.

The NJGOP was flush with cash this year but instead of using it for voter contact, it appears to have spent much of the money on overhead, travel, and food. According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, the New Jersey Republican State Committee raised more than $2 million this year for its non-federal account and burnt through more than $2.5 million. For instance, in the period between April 1 and June 30, 2012, the NJGOP spent nearly $60,000 just to pay credit card charges for travel, hotels, food, meetings, and the like - and this was way before the Republican National Convention.

If we had more grassroots conservatives on the State Committee, we could bring a focus to how this money is spent. So in addition to setting principles, policy and goals - conservatives could bring a measure of fiscal discipline and grassroots focus to the NJGOP.

The New Jersey Republican State Committee is made up of 42 members, with one state committeewoman and one state committeeman for each of the state’s 21 counties. The State Committee sets policy for the Republican Party in New Jersey and selects two representatives (a National Committeewoman and National Committeeman) to the Republican National Committee in Washington, DC.

To run for State Committee you need be a registered Republican in the county and you need the signatures of at least 100 qualified Republican voters from the same county. The petitions are filed with the County Clerk and are due April 1st (64 days prior to the primary election). The election is on June 4 and the term is four years.

All 42 State Committee seats are up NEXT year - in 2013.

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  1. truther says:

    A great column on today:

    Why the Tea Party Failed
    And why its next battle will be with the GOP.
    By David Weigel|Posted Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at 6:48 PM ET

    The day after the election, FreedomWorks and its key state-to-state organizers dialed into a one-of-a-kind conference call. For the first time ever, they would be discussing a crushing defeat. Their “Take the Senate” campaign had ended with Democrats in greater control of the upper house. Their turnout game, powered by a new web-based canvassing app, was swatted aside by labor and the Democrats. Richard Mourdock, the Indiana politician who’d been with Tea Partiers since the 2009 Taxpayer March on Washington, had lost one of the party’s safest seats.

    And now John Boehner was selling them out. The speaker of the House had just jimmied open the door to “new revenue,” which conservatives hear—correctly, typically—as “new taxes.”

    “People were upset,” remembers Brendan Steinhauser, FreedomWorks’ director of state campaigns. “Does Boehner cave in to what Obama and Reid want to do, or does he at least stay relatively strong on these issues? He’s probably going to a lot of these Republican, Tea Party folks, and say: OK, guys, here’s what we need to do to stay in power. That’s the fear.”…
    …FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity are going to keep working for a Congress with fewer Democrats and more Republicans. But they disagree with the other elements of the GOP’s base about what kinds of Republicans they want. All of the Tea Partiers I talked to this week led with one piece of post-election spin: That Republicans could not win without cracking into the Latino vote.

    “We’ve been working with a group of Spanish-speaking Tea Party people in Florida,” said Jenny Beth Martin, chairwoman of the coalition group Tea Party Patriots. “In Wisconsin, people were putting material out in Spanish, reaching the Spanish-speaking community. Our idea of freedom resonates across party lines and across the party divide.”

    That’s one take on the problem. The other take: Republicans will need to resist some elements in their base and pass immigration legislation that wins over Hispanics.

    “If the Republicans were smart, in January, maybe they’d come out with that bill and win some of that support in exchange for some of the Tancredo-style support,” said FreedomWorks’s Steinhauser. “The left saw the future and built a demographic coalition among people who don’t maybe necessarily agree. You lose some of your hard-core supporters and you pick up new ones.”

    For the first time, there’s an issue that could pit the GOP’s best-organized and best-funded grass-roots against other parts of the party base. Talk radio helped kill immigration legislation in 2007. Some of the Tea Party’s leaders wanted that legislation to survive. Dick Armey, the former GOP majority leader who now chairs FreedomWorks, was warning Republicans to “get off this goofiness,” stop talking about a border fence, and pass the bill.

    David and Charles Koch, and other businessmen who’ve discovered politics in the Tea Party area, are far more simpatico to immigration reform than, say Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin. In 2007, Iowa Rep. Steve King fought reform so hard that he brought a small model of a border fence to the floor of the House, to show how ready-made it could be. In 2009, King was linking arms with Dick Armey. King will be in D.C. come January. So will FreedomWorks. And for the first time, they completely disagree about how they can win the country.

  2. Eric Dixon says:

    All the talk about “Hispanic outreach” ignores the fact that two of the three largest Hispanic constituencies in America are Puerto Ricans and Cuban-Americans, of which neither should have any concern about or support for amnesty or a watering down of immigration law enforcement. In my experience, anyone who works or has assets at risk has little problem understanding or being receptive to a basic message of freedom from government oppression, individual liberty and lower taxes. For more…