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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