To his credit, Scott Sipprelle has been a gracious victor in the CD 12 race. He has offered a hand of friendship to Mike Halfacre and reached out to his supporters. Sipprelle's magnanimity is a trait that those with more experience in the political trenches should learn and adapt.
Sipprelle's efforts have been complicated by a message from the Middlesex GOP hierarchy. In an email to "Middlesex Republicans and Friends" state committeeman and Middlesex GOP counsel Don Katz delivered an "11th Commandment" lecture that went too far:
REMEMBER THE “11TH COMMANDMENT”
The so-called 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” came out of Ronald Reagan's campaign for governor in 1966. Too many people are forgetting this commandment and are forgetting who the real opposition is: the Democrats, liberals, etc., take your choice.
There are some people out there who apparently feel that “good politics” consists of calling fellow Republicans names, stretching - or even breaking - the truth. Often these people have never elected anyone to office or even actually worked in the trenches to help Republicans get elected to office.
This style of “good politics” does nothing to advance the Republican cause - or the conservative cause - and often does exactly the opposite, harming the cause and backfiring against the candidate who embraces such tactics.
I would suggest that, in almost all circumstances, at the state and federal level, the Republican cause, and the issues most Republicans espouse, is better served by a Republican elected official rather than a Democrat elected official. Even the least conservative Republican elected official is likely to be more in sync with Republican/Conservative issues than the most conservative Democrat - especially in the North East. Do the math. Without a majority in the US Senate or House or the NJ Senate or Assembly, the party does not control the committee chairmanships or the legislative process. Like it or not, there are legislative districts where a more conservative Republican will not get elected and that so-called “RINO” will, if replaced, be replaced by a more liberal Democrat. A Republican who is less conservative than you would like, but who allows Republicans to organize the US Senate, by getting us to 51 or the NJ Senate, by getting us to 21, certainly is a step forward for the Republican/conservative cause, no matter how un-conservative they may otherwise be.
One can call someone names for not being “ideologically pure” but it does nothing for the cause. If you don't have a majority in a legislature and you want to accomplish something legislatively, you can only do so by trying to work with or influence the Democrats you need to get to a majority. By calling a candidate a “RINO” or other names, when he or she may have a long history of making 95% of his or her political contributions to Republican and Conservative causes and 5% to Democrats - either to try to influence the so-called Blue Dog Democrats or for business purposes, gets you no-where fast. (Emphasis added)
Its time to remember the 11th Commandment. Stop calling fellow Republicans names and spend your time actually doing the hard work necessary to elect Republicans to office. Actions speak louder than words.
Katz's message would have been on the mark had he omitted the highlighted line, which raised the ire of Halfacre supporters with cries of "you guys did it too" with specifics I won't go into here.
Both sides should treat Katz's message as an indelicate slip and move on towards reconciliation. As Halfacre said on the stump about his competitors, "Even those guys are better than Rush Holt." Sipprelle should, and I suspect will, redouble his efforts to bring Halfacre's enthusiastic supporters into his team.