Gloucester County Democrats Fear Competition At The Polls

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I get it, challenging the signatures on nominating petitions is a part of political campaigns in New Jersey (and elsewhere). It’s a part of campaigns I dislike. No campaign I managed has ever challenged nominating petitions – that’s how much I despise the practice. I believe working to remove a candidate who meets the requirements to run for an office from the ballot is a gutless move that proves the person challenging signatures on a nominating petition has very little faith in their chosen candidate to win on ideas.

From my observations, over the years, it appears that more often than not challenges to nominating petitions are intra-party affairs (or is it inter, I always get the two confused) with challenges filed against competitors in a primary election like last year when a supporter of a certain someone who may or may not have led folks to believe he had access to $2 million for a congressional run got Brian Fitzherbert tossed from the primary election ballot.

But that’s not the case in Gloucester County where the County Democrats decided to attempt to deprive voters of a choice for freeholder in November. On April 3, 2019 John Alice, Counsel to the Gloucester County Democratic Committee, challenged the nominating petition of Republicans Diane M. King and Andrea K. Sammons. The challenge left King and Sammons with only 94 valid signatures removing the two from June’s primary election ballot.

So why get the Republican candidates removed from the ballot? Are the Gloucester County Democrats freeholder candidates so weak they don’t want any competition in November? I don’t even know who they’re running and don’t care because there is no way I’m voting for them.

It is possible for Republicans to win in Gloucester County? It’s happened before, remember Larry Wallace and Vince Nestore? And it can happen again. Especially against weak Democratic party candidates. Looking at some historical data one can see it can happen. In the 2014 U.S. Senate race Jeff Bell lost the county to Cory Booker, but Bell was a weak candidate with little money and still managed to earn 45% of the county-wide vote against the well-funded Booker. That same year in the CD1 Garry Cobb managed 44.78% of the vote against Congressman Donald Norcross, and Cobb, like him or not, was a horrible candidate. In 2016, President Donald Trump squeaked by Hillary Clinton county-wide 47.82% - 47.34%. Last year Bob Hugin beat U.S. Senator Bob Menendez 49.72% - 46.37% while the Republican candidates for sheriff and surrogate both received slightly more than 42% of the county-wide vote.

Trump and Hugin both won county-wide in Gloucester County and the other numbers show Republicans have a base of 42% in the county. With a little money and a solid message Republicans can win in Gloucester County. The addition of the new energy brought to the party by Chairwoman Jacci Vigilante helps too.

Diane King has run before and is popular among Republicans in Gloucester County. The addition of the Gloucester County Young Republicans Chair Andrea “Andy” Sammons as King’s running mate brings extra excitement to the ticket. So, yeah, the reason the Gloucester County Democrats decided to have the Republicans bounced from the primary election ballot is that they are afraid of competition.

All is not lost. King and Sammons can still appear on the November ballot. It’s going to require a write-in campaign in June. It’ll be a good test for Vigilante and the candidates and success can build momentum going into November.

The growing popularity of King, the excitement of a young Republican in Sammons on the ticket and the work of Vigilante in building the party in Gloucester County can only lead to good things. I have no doubt King and Sammons will appear on the ballot in November and will do my part to ensure it happens.

Gloucester County Republicans – pay attention as information will be coming soon on how to PROPERLY write-in your vote.

Another Reason We Can’t Have Nice Things

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It’s tough being a Republican in New Jersey. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement.

Unfortunately, no matter how tough it is to be a Republican in this state, there’s someone, somewhere, who wants to make it even tougher. Republicans have enough problems and we keep adding to them, uncertainty in the powerful Ocean County GOP organization because of the situation with its chairman and issues in Burlington County thanks to state Senator Dawn Addiego’s party switch and allegations that Assemblyman Joe Howarth tried to do the same.

Then there is the situation in Morris County, second only to Ocean in GOP strength, where it appears there is open revolt against the new Republican leadership where information from meetings appears to be getting leaked immediately. There’s going to be more on this later this week, but here at The Bob & Steve Show we’ve been treading lightly because it appears a certain Freeholder who once had me (and 3 candidates) charged criminally is involved with the revolt.

Despite all these problems it appears some people just want to make things worse, right here in South Jersey. South Jersey, probably the toughest place in the state outside of Hudson County to be a Republican, where we have to deal with the well-oiled George Norcross machine.

I don’t know why this issue has come to light, maybe it’s plain old jealousy, or maybe it’s a case of someone listening to the wrong people. Whatever the reason the South Jersey Young Republicans led by Jenna Evans decided to launch into attack mode at Brian Fitzherbert the chairman of the Atlantic County Young Republicans.

Evans, via social media, accused Fitzherbert of sabotaging a Trump event, “Make Saint Patrick’s Day Great Again,” she originally intended to hold at the Borgata this past weekend. The event was moved to the Golden Nugget. She shared a Joseph Rudy Rullo post to Facebook that went viral:

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The problem with the attack is it is completely untrue. As I understand the situation, it turns out the Atlantic County Young Republicans Vice Chair, Maryetta Borkowski, works at the Borgata and was asked by management if a “Make St. Patrick’s Day Great Again” event, that happened to have the Borgata logo on it was an ACYR event and was told that if it was they could not use the Borgata logo. Borkowski gave a truthful answer, it was not their event. Eventually, Borgata sent a cease and desist to Evans regarding the unauthorized use of their logo. In other words, just a standard business practice. No one tried to sabotage anything.

The way I understand events appears to be true, even according to Evans’ own social media comments. Unfortunately, Evans mistakenly believed that Borkowski contacted Borgata management when, in fact, Borkowski works there:

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Perhaps if Evans had bothered to investigate what happened she wouldn’t have gone off half-cocked and thrown out wild accusations.

Additionally, Fitzherbert filled in for Bob Greco on this weekend’s Bob & Steve Show and plugged Evans’ event on the air. I would have plugged the event if I knew of it, I likely would have included it here on the blog if we were asked.

Even worse than her undeserved attack on Fitzherbert, Evans thought it would be a good idea to lash out at Gloucester County GOP Chair Jacci Vigilante. Evans went so far as to accuse the chairwoman of “a lack of teamwork and support for one another.”

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Not only is Evans wrong in her attack on Fitzherbert, but her attack on Vigilante is way off base. I serve as the municipal chair in Greenwich Township (Gibbstown) and have firsthand knowledge of how Vigilante is running the organization. Frankly, teamwork and support for one another are hallmarks of the Vigilante leadership team. Prior to Vigilante taking the reigns the thought was always that the Gibbstown organization took care of everything ourselves and the Township was ignored for the most part. Vigilante and her team have been very supportive of our municipal organization.

It is entirely possible Evans simply viewed the South Jersey Young Republicans event as “her” event and because she didn’t bother to investigate why Borgata sent her a letter to not use their logo she took things personally and lashed out.  Make no mistake, she did refer to it as “my event.”

Bottom line: If Evans is serious about running a Republican organization she should get all her facts straight before attacking fellow Republicans. In this case she is wrong and should be apologizing to Fitzherbert and Vigilante as publicly and aggressively as she was in attacking them.

200 Toys - Gloucester GOP And Camden GOP Team Up For Toys For Tots

Jacci Vigilante and Rich Ambrosino

Jacci Vigilante and Rich Ambrosino

Last night the Camden County Republican Committee and the Gloucester County Republican Committee joined together for their second annual Toys for Tots event.

The two GOP organizations joined together at Adelphia’s in Deptford and collected over 200 new, unwrapped toys for the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program.

Admittedly, I skipped last year’s event, but was glad I listened to Gloucester County GOP Chairwoman Jacci Vigilante and Camden County GOP Chairman Rich Ambrosino and attended this one. It was nice to see two county organizations come together for a good cause.

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