Insurgent Democrats Excite Some South Jersey Republicans And Put Machine Democrat Hypocrisy On Display


It’s no secret, much to the dismay of many of my Republican friends, I love a good primary election fight. Unfortunately, for me, there’s only one GOP primary (LD8) for me to write about and it’s kind of boring.

But at least the Democrats in Camden County are giving me something fun to watch, and it appears some Republicans are getting excited about it.

Things started heating up last week thanks to a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial, “The machine age of politics should be over in N.J., Philadelphia” and a piece in Politico by the great Matt Friedman, “Anti-machine Democrats in Camden County complain of ‘phantom candidates’.” Even the folks over at Blue Jersey got into the act.

I take no issue with any of those pieces, but they all had one name in them: George Norcross. And, whenever Norcross’ name is mentioned, Republicans seem to get excited.

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I’ve written before in this blog that “For some reason South Jersey Republicans get excited when they hear the name George Norcross. Well, here’s a newsflash for you. Voters don’t care! His name is not on the ballot.”

Yet, it doesn’t matter, still folks get excited at the mention of the Norcross name. Every time I say something like that I am accused of being pro-Norcross and/or the South Jersey Democrat machine. For the record, I’m not. Frankly, I’m not a fan of machines, period. That said, I do admit to being jealous that Norcross was able to build such a well-oiled machine.

This is not to say that I don’t work to beat that machine. I have and I continue to do so. The machine can be defeated. My co-host Bob Greco and I proved that. Back in 2009 when Greco became chairman of the Cumberland County Republicans he asked me to come work with him. We met a year earlier when I was working on state Senator Joe Pennacchio’s U.S. Senate campaign. Greco told me I could go at the Democrats as hard as I wanted – no leash – naturally I agreed since he promised not to put a leash on me. Together, along with quality mail by Chris Russell, we won and won enough that in only a few years flipped a 7 – 0 Democrat controlled freeholder board to 4 – 3 Republican. We did it with very little money and without mentioning the name Norcross.

Anyway, thanks to another Politico piece this week in the New Jersey Playbook even more people got excited over the insurgent Democrats challenge to the Norcross machine.


I had never heard of GGCNJ before someone sent me a link to their social media post. Apparently, it stands for Good Government Coalition New Jersey and according to Facebook their page was created on June 4, 2017. They even have a website on which they claim to be a “nonpartisan, grassroots group whose mission is to strengthen democracy by working with residents across our state to bring greater transparency, accountability, and participation to our state and local governments.”


Unfortunately, immediately after the line about being “nonpartisan” is the question “Want to build a progressive party from within?” Of course, that makes me wonder exactly how “nonpartisan” the group truly is.

So basically, it appears to me this whole anti-machine thing in Camden County is the progressives versus the establishment. I don’t quite understand why Republicans are getting excited over it – other than it’s fun to watch.

Now, if Republicans really want to make any kind of issue about all this Democratic Party infighting I would suggest they key on a letter penned by Camden County Democratic Committee Chairman state Senator Jim Beach in which he attacks many of the progressive (or are they insurgent) Democrats as “Trump Republicans.”

One glaring example is Jen O’Donnell. From the letter posted on

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True O’Donnell once ran for office with Republicans, I know, I designed the palm card, she might have been registered as a Republican for all I know, but she was never a “Trump Republican.” The palm card was clear, she and her running mates were “Republicans and Independent Democrats.” Trump wasn’t even a candidate when I designed the palm card. Or at the very least not one I was paying attention to. So, to call O’Donnell a “Trump Republican” is a stretch at best.

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Another thing I would take issue within Beach’s letter is that he points out the criminal histories of several of the insurgent candidates.

Another thing I would take issue within Beach’s letter is that he points out the criminal histories of several of the insurgent candidates.

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I’m fairly certain the histories listed by Beach are true, but why speak out about these particular Democrats when he completely ignored the arrest of former Assemblyman Arthur Barclay and only after Republicans discovered the arrest did Beach say anything, and when he did speak, not a word about the arrest, only that Barclay resigned for “health reasons.”

And, that’s not the only time the Camden County Democratic Committee chairman sat silent when one of his own was in legal trouble. I still don’t think Beach has uttered a word about former Haddon Township Commissioner Paul Dougherty, the guy who was involved in a hit and run and tried to blame it on his wife and eventually pleaded guilty on an unrelated charge.

And when the Deputy Mayor in Voorhees was outed for getting into bar brawls Beach had nothing to say.

Considering he didn’t care when his own people ran afoul of the law, it’s obvious Beach’s letter has nothing to do with concerns about the past actions of the insurgent Democrats.

The bottom line here is there might be a reason to be excited by the insurgent Democrats challenge to the establishment Democrats in Camden County, but it’s not because the insurgents have a chance at winning. It is because it appears the hypocrisy of the establishment machine Democrats oozes out when the heat is turned up on them.

Keep it up insurgents! We’re all watching.