Friday, June 11, 2010

Come Together

This post is not about CD-6.

This post is about the chairmanship of the Monmouth County GOP. Next Tuesday, the Monmouth County Republican Committee will elect a chairman. Joe Oxley is seeking a second term. Howell Township Chairman John Costigan, until recently one of Oxley's most public supporters, is challenging.

It is often said that a month is a lifetime in politics. There is a lot of truth to that. That is probably why so many have such short memories.

Given the state our county party was in two years ago, Joe Oxley has done a remarkable job in his rookie term. If you want to get a sense of how bad it was two years ago and have nothing to do this weekend, pray for rain and spend the weekend snuggled up with your computer reading this set of posts from the MMM archives. Start by scrolling back to the first post and come forward chronologically.

If you have a life and don't want to spend your weekend that way, take my word for it. The Monmouth GOP was a putrid mess two years ago. After twenty years of complete dominance, we lost two Freeholder seats in consecutive elections. We were $35K in debt and on the verge of eviction from our county headquarters. Factionalism was rampant, public and loud. The media was out to destroy us. The previous chairman demanded obedient compliance and as a result earned many a Jersey salute.

Two years later, we have control of the Freeholder Board. We have a Republican governor elected by large measure from the enormous plurality earned in Monmouth County. We lead 8 towns that were previously under Democratic control. We are on sound financial footing. We are poised to win 2 congressional seats that were previously given up on forever.

All the complaints about Joe Oxley, many of which are valid, are insignificant in the face of the turnaround. The turnaround was not easy. The hardest part was probably navigating the egos and putting up with the whines of people he considered friends. Doing the right thing for people he didn't consider friends, because it was the right thing, couldn't have been easy either.

We were extremely fortunate that Joe Oxley gave up a sure shot at re-election to Sheriff for the purpose of righting our ship. At the time he was one of the most popular and respected leaders in the county. If there was someone else who could have stepped up and taken the chairmanship by acclamation, they are still unknown. Joe traded his popularity and comfort to right our ship.

If Joe had not done what he did, Kim Guadagno would be in her second term in the Assembly. Jon Corzine might be governor. Sean Byrnes might be a Freeholder. We'll never know. But if you don't give Oxley credit for the 2009 results, you can't blame him for the 2008 results.

Joe Oxley did a remarkable job in his rookie term as chairman. The critics and second guessers do have valid points, but only Joe was in the impossible and thankless job. He will make adjustments in a second term, yet the critics and second guessers will still whine.

Joe Oxley should be re-elected by acclamation on Tuesday, with no challenge.

UPDATE 11:06 AM

I received an email from a good friend about this post. He doesn't agree with me. I think our debate would add value to MMM readers.

Let's see if I get this straight:

1. Oxley misses the giant Tea Party going on right in front of him;


Who did see it? Work on who to give the party lines to started last November. No one saw what happened on Tuesday coming, not to the extent that it did. Anybody who wasn't shocked by David Corsi's numbers was in a coma or is lying about it now. These are volitile political times. We need to judge our political leaders on how they respond to the voters' message, not on their failure to see an unpredictable result coming 7 months ago.

2. He fails to move the electorate to vote for the party candidate;

If you are talking about the primary, well I think that was a good thing.

He will be instrumental in bringing the party and the Tea Parties together for the coming campaigns in CD-6 and CD-12. This year's election will not be a repeat of the Schundler vs Franks primary followed by the Schundler vs. McGreevey general wherein Schundler had only tacit party support.

3. Turnout of the primary is lower than a board of ed election;

And that is Joe Oxley's fault? The turnout in this primary was huge compared to 08, 06 and 04. In CD 6, Tuesday's turnout was only about 2000 votes less than it was in last years gubernatorial contest.

4. Every pundit on television Tuesday night called him "impotent."

Great idea! Let's pick our chairman based upon what Brigid Harrison, Jim Hooker and Patrick Murray said to less people than read this blog (or yours maybe). I like Patrick, but Hooker makes Scott Sipprelle sound like Ronald Reagan. In the words of Diane Gooch about Harrison, "No Comment!"

They also said that Anna Little was a four term Mayor of Highlands. She's finishing her one term this year.

Art Gallagher adds that up and says "Heckuva Job Joe - Stay Aboard!"

That's right. And you should too. If you don't learn from history you are bound to repeat it. Spend the weekend reading my archives.


Buck stops where?


With Joe. He's not perfect, but his results are impressive, especially given what he inherited.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

No way Art!
He never supported Curley. He took away the committee person vote.He went for the Gooch money.
All has back fired in his face. Plus he has surrounded himself with a small group of cronies who have been rewarded.
Joe must go!

M Laffey said...

Well said Art

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Art, on this you're wrong ...

Anonymous said...

Art, you embraced a bunch of crazy people in the name of getting Anna elected. Whether or not you will succeed remains to be seen...but you made a mistake with these people and you will see that when they destroy Monmouth County politics. Middlesex will be heaven compared to what you will have down there soon. Hope you're happy now.

Freespeaker76 said...

Art, you are wrong on this.

No signs for Sean Golden?

A no name with signs, someone that no one knows got 45% against Golden. Not spending the last $30,000 two years ago in Curley's first run and loosing by 300 votes? Criminal.

And, from an organizational view, not turning out the vote on Primary Day in Monmouth? That's HIS JOB.

Joe is not a grass roots person, he is a schmoozer.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Joe deserves another term. I am not sure about Costigan but Anonymous 9:43 am is right. Joe never supported Curley and to him it is all about the money. He didn't support Anna Little and he knew she wanted to run against Pallone two years ago. She talked about nothing else and now he should encourage Gooch to concede and support Anna. There are other good people who could be the county Chairman... maybe one will step up to the plate.
I have issues with Joe he never responds to emails or phone calls!

Anonymous said...

Well said Art. Thankless job. Impressive results in first term. Largest Lincoln day turnout in recent memory and very successful victory gala last fall. We are finally heading in the right direction.

Conservative Guy said...

How about having open primaries?

How about having a candidates debate over a webcast?

How about a $100 fee to be a voting county party member? If 1000 people join for the $100 that is good seed money to make local campaigns competitive and hold additional fundraisers.

How about the establishment Monmouth County Republicans embrace the tea party and conservatives?

United we all win, divided we all lose. Let's get behind Anna Little and beat Frank Pallone in the Fall.

Anonymous said...

Joe has righted the ship in the last 2 years, with a couple of bumps in the road.I started following the county politics about 6 years ago & it has changed for the better. As Art said control of the county, over taking dem towns, the big win for Christie & we will win in November if EVERYONE backs Scott & more then likely Anna for Congress. We are moving in the right direction, no need to change. Joe truely deserves another term. But everyone must get together and support the candidates in November. If you have something negative or positive to say on a blog, put your name with it. Show the courage of your conviction. Andrew Bane.

Anonymous said...

No way Art!
He never supported Curley. He took away the committee person vote.He went for the Gooch money.
All has back fired in his face. Plus he has surrounded himself with a small group of cronies who have been rewarded.
Joe must go!


Curley gives one of the worst quotes in the week leading up to an election ever, and it was Obama's year where Dem's came out of the woodwork for the first and only time, and you blame Joe? Are you serious? I'm pretty sure even John knows he last that election himself. Curley is too busy constantly throwing his fellow Repub's under the bus in the press to be taken seriously.

For the last time the MC's voted on and elected Gooch, not the chairman. At least the half who bothered to show up. You argue you want more involvement but the elected municipal leaders you choose don't even show up! And Gooch won in EVERY COUNTY - it's not like Joe went rogue and got greedy. Monmouth followed the same route every other county did, whether it was an open convention or not.

How about a $100 fee to be a voting county party member? If 1000 people join for the $100 that is good seed money to make local campaigns competitive and hold additional fundraisers.


R u serious? charging people $100 is your answer? Making people pay to vote is perhaps the worst idea I have ever heard. You're lucky if Committee people put up a yard sign let alone pay to vote. We already can't get quorums at convention. You would get 5 people!

Charles Measley said...

It's time for Joe to step aside and let John come to show us the power of grass roots!

Anonymous said...

Hey - how about John Curley become Chairman.

Anonymous said...

Costigan is a nice person but not a leader by any stretch of the imagination. Howell has been a shambles under his chairmenship. Of the 60 seats on cty committee he only had 12 people on the ballot. He has been sneaking around collecting absentee ballots and haveing names written in for the past few weeks.

Picky, picky.. said...

way to keep the phrase,"but what have you done for me, today?" alive!..having worked for/lived with 6 different party chairs, I can tell you, it's an unpaid, totally thankless job.. no matter WHO it is, they will have their friends and their detractors, as it is with any position of power in any organization!..no matter WHO it is, there will be personality conflicts, blind ambitions, power struggles, and ego trips to deal with, smooth over, and then, try and construct a good message for the candidates to run on, raise enough money to get that message out, and then, find ways to inspire and drive people out to vote!.. it is truly like herding cats, all who have their own mind and direction, and it is nearly impossible to please everyone.. again, Joe's critics would have more credibility, if they stated what they and their town will do to help the overall effort and make good things happen!!..Art, having been involved, when many of us realized 18 yrs. was too many for one chair, is correct, despite a few mis-steps, Joe deserves another term!..and,ps, many believe it is a bad thing for any elected official to take on a party chairmanship: I believe it will not turn out to be good for Sam in Middlesex..

Anonymous said...

Joe has been calm and steady at the helm. He's earned and desearves another term. Go Joe!

Anonymous said...

All of you Oxley/Gooch supporters please be advised, it is the Curley,Little & Costigan type people prefer. It is called " on message".

Anonymous said...

Question- Has there ever been a woman Chairman?

Anonymous said...

Curley and Little are both supporting a second term for Oxley. He has been on message as Mayor, Sheriff and Chairman: Lower taxes, smaller goverment and reduce the debt. Very consistent throughout his entire public career. Go Joe!

Anonymous said...

I hail from Howell and know John Costigan well. He is a good, ethical man and a hard worker. Superb campaigner. He does not however have the prerequisite skills or capaciy to lead the entire organization. I have commented on this topic in other threads and remain more cinvinced now than even then. John is a solid campaigner but not a strategist. He lacks the organizational capacity to truly lead an operation of the size and complexity of a county party.

Joe Oxley is the whole package and has done nothijng but win and keep cialitions and people together in what has been a tough time with all the factions that exist within the party. We need continuity in leadership and we need someone that has the command and understanding of the totality of what it takes to be chair. It is not just about going out and getting petitions signed and knocking on doors. If that is John's reall expertise (grass roots) then he may be better off running for office as he is a solid retail campaigner for sure.

We need a leader with the skill, experience and capacity to truly lead and manage the business of the organization.

To blame Joe for supporting Anna little is silly. People make choices in elections and he chose Ms. Gooch. So be it. It was a primary and that is what people do. He was right to say when all is said and done' the party is with the winner.

Art is right. We need Joe Oxley.

Joe DiBella

Anonymous said...

6:44: not wise to "lump" folks together: I supported Anna, supported Curley twice, and support re-electing Joe.. etc..judge each on their own merits!

Y-not? said...

a woman chair in Monmouth?.. haha, many of "da boys" in the old days would've had a canary.. in recent years, and continuing to today, it's GOP women who have worked both behind the scenes, and in the spotlight, to deliver ever-increasing numbers of victories, on all levels.. perhaps, in this critical year of 2010, we need to start thinking about a woman chair, for the future, after Joe retires!

Anonymous said...

And how many really help out to get out the vote? NOT many - that is the sad part of all this!

Those who throw stones and don't help making calls,fundraise, put out sign -go door to door or even sending a representative to help is part of the problem. Is it above you? The selfishness must stop!

Anonymous said...

Joe Oxley is a worker, well liked and admired by many. Joe stays!

Vote for Joe.. said...

When Joe wins on Tuesday, I hope a priority of his will be, to be less forgiving of municipal chairs who haven't done/don't do THEIR jobs!..could give solid examples, but it's not productive at this point,to do any more name-calling and factionalizing, we have enough of it, and already have enough immaturity, in some being absolutely unable to look past their own personal agendas and choices, rather than toward the greater good and whole picture.. no matter who the chair is, this must be taken to heart by all.. I hope he will continue the FREE,professional, and excellent training opportunities he has provided, to anyone who will get up and show up on a Saturday..I hope he will continue to expand services at HQ, and the inclusion, but remember, with inclusion, comes responsibility, too..we are ok and moving forward, no need to have any radical changes, we have three great County candidates to get known and elected!!.. Focus!

Anonymous said...

DiBella for Chairman!
He has what Costigan doesn't & Oxley wished he had.
How could we have missed this outstanding individual?

P.S. Glad we did.

A better idea said...

I think Joe D. has matured and would be a better freeholder candidate next year.. the surrogate and two freeholder seats are up, with the assemby, in 2011..

Anonymous said...

We need to start looking at removing the ineffective, inactive, do-nothing municipal chairs. Most just want to attend a party and have a drink. But at the local level, they don't fill county committee, have never walked door to door, won't put out a sign, or write even a small check.
No matter who the county chair is, without effect municipal's its a crap shoot.

There are some large town in Monmouth that need new municipal chairs. What do you think Art?
Name some towns where the muni chair has to go. Lets have some real talk on this issue.

Art Gallagher said...

Anonymous said...
We need to start looking at removing the ineffective, inactive, do-nothing municipal chairs. Most just want to attend a party and have a drink. But at the local level, they don't fill county committee, have never walked door to door, won't put out a sign, or write even a small check.
No matter who the county chair is, without effect municipal's its a crap shoot.

There are some large town in Monmouth that need new municipal chairs. What do you think Art?
Name some towns where the muni chair has to go. Lets have some real talk on this issue.


I think filling all the county committee seats in every town should be an declared objective of Joe's second term.

I don't see the point in naming names and going after anyone publically now, in light of the fact that there has been no mandate to fill those seats, at least in the few years that I have been involved.

Anonymous said...

Filling the County Committee seats is a nice thing. Actually letting them particiapte and vote on candidates would be a great thing

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you it is hard to fill those seats.
As a former chairman I had to ask personal friends to do it. just to fill some districts. They only did it as a favor.
And btw don't expect people to do any work just because they are on the committee.

The fact of the matter is most people put politics at the bottom of their to do list

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:09 hit the nail on the head. It is excrutiatingly difficult to find people that will even consider putting their name in to fill a seat, no less do work when they are there. Let's face it, people love to complain about how terrible things are but the minute you ask them to get involved, it's, "ooh no, I have to take the kids to soccer practice, or I have majong once a week, or my den needs painting - anything to get out of having to commit to helping our candidates. To hold that against the municipal chairs is not only unfair, it's completely misdirected. Blame the folks' apathy.

Point taken said...

ok, then, will blame some chairs' apathy,too.. it is true it's not a big part of peoples' day, but, with more paying attention, finally, this is a good year to tap into the concern, and hopefully get more people involed, because now, it's no longer a past-time, a name or a title, it's really about saving this country..

Anonymous said...

The last few posts are right, I've campaigned in 2 different elections and tons of people aren't even registered to vote, yet they'll chew your ear off with complaints. Ask them to register if not registered or vote if the sheets show they haven't voted in years and they'll either tell you they ARE REGISTERED or DO VOTE and the list is wrong, or say, "whats the point, all politicians are corrupt." The point is, people only vote when it is a priority to them, i.e. friend or neighbor they know is running, or being finally fed up beyond belief. And filling seats on county committee, it depends on your town, but in some towns, people are afraid to step up, and some people are afraid to even put their signature on the petition in support of another candidate. These are the age old problems, and when somebody finds a solution, post it here! As for Joe vs John, I like Joe, but John will be getting my vote, because the same old same old won't cut it anymore. A different approach is needed.

Anonymous said...

In speaking with people who are on the CC, they are unhappy John left the whole CC vulnerable when he failed to file properly. There is also concern he has yet to be able to bring people together - he actually worked against unification with the current mayor who is a republican and wanted to come into the fold. He has scant support and most are being told the have to support him since they are from his town and most do not want to.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should ask our Lt.Gov who she prefers to be our Chairman.
I know the answer.....good luck John.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should ask governor and Lt who they prefer...64,327 vote plurality last fall and already committed to attend August 5th gala at Molly pitcher. Great job and good luck Joe.

P.S. Costigan supported and is still a lonegan fan.

Anonymous said...

Great they committed to the gala. I will be thrilled to see the Lt. Gov's smile when introduced by John.

Anonymous said...

She won't be smiling because everyone knows the mess John created in Howell. They are the most dysfunctional, leaderless organization in the county. Factions and infighting are rampant.

Put away the scorecard said...

Kim worked with Joe in this Primary,to help out Shaun for the nomination.. really, people,we CAN have differences, and still come together when it's necessary, to get the job done: try it!.. fully expect Joe to be doing the intros, with both Anna and Diane with him, at the podium, throughout this cycle, because win we must!!

TonyD said...

"'Oxley misses the giant Tea Party going on right in front of him;' Who did see it? ... No one saw what happened on Tuesday coming, not to the extent that it did."

With all due respect, that is precisely the kind of political myopia that your interlocutor is talking about. Not only did many of us "see this coming," but if anything we were surprised that it wasn't *more* pronounced. That's because we're real people living and voting in the county who know our own sentiments and the mood of the country.

It's the party establishment mindset that couldn't see this coming, and I'm not at all surprised. The RP leadership has been sacrificing principle to pragmatism for a long time, driving potential supporters away (or even to abandon the party in disgust) for having betrayed its ideals. They have thoroughly alienated themselves from the people they are supposed to represent. It's the principled Tea Party candidates that are now bringing us back.

In a capitalist economy, those who succeed are the entrepreneurs who have the vision to improve themselves, and to see the world changing and how to "do things differently" to adapt and thrive in it. Those who lack vision and stubbornly stick to established routines because "that's how we've always done it" are swept away and replaced by that competition. The same principle applies in other areas, including politics -- sooner or later.