Republicans in CD-6 and CD-12 owe a debt of gratitude to Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre.
Before the Tea Party movement had showed its power, before Chris Christie was elected Governor and before Scott Brown was elected to the Ted Kennedy's seat in the U.S. Senate, Mike Halfacre saw the possibility of knocking an entrenched liberal congressman like Rush Holt out of office. He then spent almost 9 months laying the groundwork to do just that.
By graciously withdrawing from the CD-12 race after losing the "party lines" to Scott Sipprelle, Halfacre made a positive impact on our chances of defeating both Rush Holt and Frank Pallone in November.
Given how contentious the convention season was between Sipprelle and Halfacre, it is likely that a primary race between them would have been expensive and bloody. The Democrats were hoping that would happen. We're probably better off that it did not.
Halfacre's withdrawal made a significant difference in CD-6. With Mike out of the running, the Tea Party groups focused their energy and talent on Anna Little and made the CD-6 race competitive.
If Anna wins, it will be due in large measure to the extraordinary efforts and enthusiasm of the Tea Party volunteers. Those efforts would have been divided had Halfacre stayed in the race.
If Diane Gooch wins the nomination, she will at least have had the experience of the primary race to learn from, and gain stamina from, going into the general election campaign.
In each eventuality, we will be better off than we would have been had Mike Halfacre put is political ambitions before what was best for his country and his party.
Thank you Mike.