Thursday, June 11, 2009

Christie off to a great start with Webber selection.

By Dan Gallic

In less than two weeks Chris Christie has won the primary, led by 10% in the polls and, now, chosen one of the state premier conservatives to lead the state GOP. Those of us who have been fighting for the heart and soul of the party against weak-minded, push-over, compromise-crazy liberals have to be pleased with this selection.

Just so that we understand the history of the State GOP Chairs, here is a list of the last forty years worth of them (courtesy of Wikipedia):

1974-1976: Webster B. Todd
1977-1980: David A. Norcross[19]
1981-1985: Philip D. Kaltenbacher
1985-1987: Frank B. Holman
1987-1989: Bob Franks
1989-1990: Kathleen Donovan
1990-1992: Bob Franks
1992-1995: Virginia Littell
1995-2001: Chuck Haytaian
2001-2004: Joseph M. Kyrillos
2004-: Tom Wilson

Consider that the state GOP chair has been in the hands of the Whitman/Todd faction of the party since at least 1985. Webber marks a fresh break from this trend. Has the establishment been officially thrown out? Christie's LG choice will make that definitive.

In 2001, Bret Schundler had the chance to name a chair that could remake the party, instead he choose Sen. Joe Kyrillos, his opponent's campaign chair. I have to guess that this might have been Schundler's greatest regret. Senator Kyrillos, who is a very nice guy, did not have the heart or time to lead the party and left after one term. In 2004, Tom Wilson defeated Dick Kamin in a close vote. Interestingly, when Kyrillos first took the job he appointed Bob Frank's, Schundler's primary opponent, campaign manager for State GOP Executive Director, Michael DuHaime. DuHaime has since gone on to be the RNC Political Director and most recently is the heading up the Christie Campaign.

Essentially the choice for chair gives an indication of they type of choices Christie will make, and even more importantly, the type of leadership the State GOP will enjoy over the next four years.

For those who do not know Jay Webber, he is defined by his pro-life, fiscal-conservative, Reganesque style, who first gained entry to politics by running a primary against the greatest RINO who have ever graced the NJ Senate Chamber, Bob Martin. Martin makes Specter look like Gingerich. The nasty primary was punctuated by a bizarre moment when Martin's campaign manager screaming "LIAR" in the middle of a candidates forum because Webber defended himself against an attack formulated by Martin's political consultant, none other than the infamous Jamestown Associates, saying he didn't live in the district. Webber responded with a mailer in black and white with the word "LIAR" on one side and the proof of Webber's residence on the other. The mailer was crafted by Schundler's campaign manager Bill Pascoe.

Jay went onto win a grueling primary fight when an assembly seat opened up after Martin retired and Joe Pennacchio moved up.

Through each of these primary fights and general election wins, Jay has proved his mettle. He is indeed fit to lead this party and his selection marks a tremendous sea change for the State Republican Party, one that many of us have been waiting for, for many many years.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kyrillos served more than one term. He was elected unanimously as chairman of the state party 3 times: before the 2001 primary, after the 2001 primary and again in 2003 and was begged to stay on in 2004, which he declined. He pumped his own money into the party and raised millions in state and federal dollars even while the party was out of power. And Kyrillos came in after the legislative map was already screwed up by his predessors, had to deal with the Bennett saga that resulted in the party's control of the senate, etc. He got stuck with a handful of garbage and debt when he came in even though his predessors were there at a time of power. Any casual observer can tell that the state party has been an absent force in each and every election cycle since Kyrillos left.

Anonymous said...

Although technically correct, the by-laws of the NJGOP make it extremely difficult to remove a chair after the first 2 years, thus making a 2 year term actually, in practice a 4 year term.

Joe was also in power during the whole stupid fiasco when they changed the primary date for Bob Franks in 2001.

The whole, "I got screwed by my predecessor" argument is lame. Any leader will lead, whether out of a whole or into new heights. Joe wasn't that great of a leader and mostly meandered through his term.

To be sure, Joe was light years better than Tom, although that doesn't say much. Even a casual observer can see that.

Anonymous said...

Schundler did not have the support of the party hierarchy (as Christie does) when he won the primary. Kyrillos was already in place as chairman from the debacle known as the Whitman-DiFrancesco administration. His reappointment of Kyrillos was obviously an 'olive branch' to the more moderate side of the party. Had Schundler not reappointed Kyrillos, and went on to lose as badly as he did in the general election, his one regret might have been NOT reappointing Kyrillos.

Another inaccuracy is that your chronology does not include Evan Kozlow as the Executive Director with the reappointment of Kyrillos ... or the fact that Schundler also created 4 Co-Chairs with Kyrillos, a first for the NJGOP.

Anonymous said...

evan kozlow . . . lol . . . there was a memorable one. . . a placeholder for about two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Yay, finally!!.. now maybe something'll get done right: support Webber, now!..

Anonymous said...

Art, please check: it's my understanding it was ol' Bennett who cast the deciding vote that GAVE us that last re-districting map!.. and, bet Joe took the chair's salary that was not there for Ginny Littell, but was for Haytaaian, who supposedly didn't want to go back to work as an engineer, after those harassment accusations..the Trenton GOP clique kept re-electing themselves for far too long: hope Webber can fix some of THIS mess!..am impressed with this choice..hope sour grapes doesn't derail him..

Anonymous said...

1. You said, "Schundler did not have the support of the party hierarchy (as Christie does) when he won the primary. Kyrillos was already in place as chairman from the debacle known as the Whitman-DiFrancesco administration. His reappointment of Kyrillos was obviously an 'olive branch' to the more moderate side of the party. Had Schundler not reappointed Kyrillos, and went on to lose as badly as he did in the general election, his one regret might have been NOT reappointing Kyrillos."

I say, "huh?".

The fact that Schundler had not support from the heirachy propelled him to victory in the '01 primary. In fact, the choice of Joe K as chair turned out to be his undoing because Joe worked against Bret from day one.

2. Four Co-Chairs? again, "huh?" Who cares. more titles, more people, more ego's to stroke. Do you even remember who they were? The whole idea of co-chairs is stupid. there is one chair and it's his/her show until they get kicked out. That's the way it's played.

3. Evan left the ED position because Bret was floundering without him. MD came in as Kyrillos pick. Evan was ED for less than two months.

Joe's a nice guy (as Dan said), a leader his is not. It's OK to be a nice guy.

Anonymous said...

Schundler's fate had nothing to do with NJGOP. He was never going to win. Criticizing the cops after 9/11 doesn't help endear yourself to voters.

Vin said...

Good day for Pennachio. He finally got the last laugh on Wilson - and he should after the way the NJ GOP screwed him last year and he still almost beat them.

Anonymous said...

"I say, "huh?".

The fact that Schundler had not support from the heirachy propelled him to victory in the '01 primary. In fact, the choice of Joe K as chair turned out to be his undoing because Joe worked against Bret from day one.

2. Four Co-Chairs? again, "huh?" Who cares. more titles, more people, more ego's to stroke. Do you even remember who they were? The whole idea of co-chairs is stupid. there is one chair and it's his/her show until they get kicked out. That's the way it's played.



oooooohhhhh...looks like this touched a nerve.....lol.