Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reflections on the Middlesex County Convention

Mike Halfacre, Scott Sipprelle, a representive of the Larsen campaign in CD 7, Congressman Leonard Lance,Fabrizio Bivona, Shannon Wright, Anna Little and Diane Gooch

The photo above was taken moments after Scott Sipprelle gave his speech to the Middlesex County convention while delegates of the 6th district were starting to vote. Mike Halfacre appears to be on the outside looking in. Scott Sipprelle looks like the cat that ate the canary.

That pretty much sums up what happened. The second biggest suprise of the day was Sipprelle's 62% margin of victory. That Sipprelle won was not a shock. His margin of victory was.

The biggest surprise was presumed incoming Middlesex County Chairman Sam Thompson's tiraid against Halfacre while nominating Sipprelle. At least it was a surprise to those of us who had never been to Middlesex convention before.

Current Chairman Joe Leo wasn't surprised. He introduced Thompson to nominate Sipprelle, even though Sipprelle lost the screening committee vote to Halfacre. Sipprelle wasn't surprised. He sat unfazed during Thompson's rant and thanked him at the start of his remarks. The crowd wasn't surprised. They cheered Thompson on.

Halfacre ended his speech with this line, a variation of which he has been using on the trail in recent weeks:

"We don't need the rich candidate, we need the right candidate. Today, you can choose a lifelong Republican, or the other guy. A tax cutting mayor or the other guy. A social conservative, or the other guy."

Thompson got up on Leo's cue and angrily addressed Halfacre in front of the entire convention, "I'm tired of you questioning this man's (Sipprelle) Republican credentials. As a college student he was an intern for Republican U.S. Senator Pete Wilson and he's been a good Republican ever since."

It was great theater. The crowd ate it up.

This was Sam Thompson's convention. The Middlesex GOP is Sam Thompson's party.

Those who have been waiting for Sam to retire so they can move up the ladder should set their sites elsewhere. Sam Thompson has a great deal of fight left in him.

Scott Sipprelle did not defeat Mike Halfacre today. Sam Thompson did.

Not to take anything away from Sipprelle, but Thompson and his team have been working the phones and smoozing municipal leaders relentlessly since he was surprised by Halfacre's victory at the screening committee.

Thompson objected to Conservatives with Attitude's characterization, which was referred to here, that he was strong arming people. When the voting was over this afternoon, Thompson reiterated to me that he didn't strong arm anyone. "Did you check with them?" he asked me, "I don't need to strong arm. If you can't deliver what is the point?"

Whatever Sam did, it worked.


Anonymous said...

Mike Halfacre PUT himself on the outside looking in when he betrayed Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment. He does not know how to run in primaries; he's never had to. And in his hometown the Democrats are pretty non-existent too.

The photo reminds me of a kid in kindergarten who doesn't know how to play nice with others. Time-out.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong in your characterization of Sipprelle's victory. The grassroots turned out for him. Thompson's remarks didn't sway anyone. We were already fired up for Sipprelle and sick of Halfacre's lies and negativity. That's why Thompson's reprimand and Sipprelle's speach got such thunderous applause. And that is why Sipprelle trounced Halfacre.

Gotta move on said...

it's over, there: predictions,now, of the much-less-fun Monmouth thing on Monday night, if you please,fellow bloggers?..

Art Gallagher said...

You should read the post again. I didn't say Thompson's remarks made the difference. I said the work he did since the screening did. That's how the grassroots got there.

Anonymous said...

I think it is correct to say Mike gave a good speech at the candidates Night at the Lakeside Manor.He made a lot of points that should of pushed folks to his side.The problem with Mike is that he is "Cockey".And there is nothing that turns people off more than someone who is aloof.Well,you say I'm wrong,lets see what happens Monday night at the American Hotel.If Mike would go out of his way to welcome folks and be glad he met them ,he would of been a better candidate.Scott is new to this arena,yet it seems like he is pulling off this race.Why? Scott likes people and is glad to be with them.For me politics is easy,I love Monmouth County Republicans,and I can't wait to spend time with them.I think of them as my close family.For me shaking hands and smiling is very easy and natural.I even look forward to spending time with you Art Gallagher!!
All of that said,I will get behind the party candidate,whomever that person is.

angry repub said...

Hearing Thomson was like hearing Obama. He was a disgrace to Republicans and should be forced to at least apologize or step down. He sheer lack of professionalism when addressing his nomination for Sipprelle and directing the anger that he did at Halfacre was appalling.It was extremely challenging for me to contain myself from confronting him in front of the voting body.I didn't want to lower myself to lowlife example Sam displayed. Pure showing of someone who had allot at stake if Sipprelle didn't get the nomination. I have to know what "sweetheart deal" Sipprelle made with Thomson.

Vote for me and I'll set you free.. said...

it's true, besides being smart, having solid beliefs and principles, being friendly and accessible, having qualifications and experience, there are the intangibles of how people react to a person, what vibes are sent by a candidate and received by a potential voter, whether they inspire trust,etc.. since nobody's perfect, and nobody can be exactly what every person thinks they want in a candiidate, the "dance" of running and getting elected to something, remains the fascinating experiment in democarcy, that keeps all us "junkies" involved and coming back for more.. if you believe in "aura" or "persona, that may often be the difference between a winner and a loser in a given race..

Anonymous said...

Art-Almost all of the municipal chairs were for Mike and they remained that way to the bitter end (which is why Halfacre won the screening vote). So the Sam "strong-arm" theory does not hold up. The untold story is that Sipprelle scored huge with the rank-and-file delegates who defied their own chairs to support him. I know this kind of contradicts the Halfacre grassroots theory, but it is the fact. MiddI

Anonymous said...

I've said all along that although the Tea Party folks are good citizens....they are not synonymous with the entire grassroots movement. As a grassroots activist, I can tell you that. And Halfacre was never grassroots, just perceived that way because of Sipprelle's comparable wealth. Not being wealthy does not mean one is grassroots. And, looking at Sipp's donor history, I believe he gave $1000 to the grassroots Schundler campaign back in the day.

tr said...

it is interesting how the 6th and the 12th district have a lot of parallels but have a different tone.
Halfacre who has been planning this run for over a year is being villified by Sipperelle supporters.

On the Other hand Anna little is not being attacked at all even though she has less support from elected officials then Halfacre.

It is interesting to muse on why this is so.

I can think of a few possible

1.Halfacre went negative and Little has not.

2. Halfacre is viewed as more of a threat to the Rich guy then Little to the rich girl.

3. Maybe they are afraid to attack Little. That sort of backfired last time they did it.

4. Little is more likeable then Halfacre?

Thoughts anyone?

Anonymous said...

My opinion on tr's 4 thought-provoking theories:

#1.= Definitely so.
#2.= Definitely not; in fact, quite possibly the reverse.
#3.= Probably, since a poll just declared her the most conservative of all those running for office.
#4.= Definitely. Isn't everyone?

Thanks for a good post, buddy.