Monthly Archives: October 2013

County Republican Chair’s Authority in Candidate Selection Protested by Local Gadflies

Local gadfly John Lewis, who is also the elected Republican 3rd District Committeeman, has set up a howl against the two current Republican candidates, claiming they were not the choice of the local Republican Committee but were picked by the County Republican Committee Chair. Now, Republican councilman Dr. Christopher Tienken claims he will turn Independent in protest against the County Chair’s decision.

Either these individuals are painfully ignorant of the legal process of candidate selection OR they understand it fully but are counting on the lack of voter education around the selection process.

In truth, the County Chair of either recognized New Jersey political party – Republican or Democrat (sorry, Dr. Tienken, Independents are not recognized!) – The County Chair has the legal responsibility over ballot positioning of candidates. Anyone can submit petitions to run for office. Ultimately, the ballot positions are assigned by the County Chair, who chooses whichever two candidates he or she feels best represents the Republican Party. Any remaining candidates are placed on the ballot in a separate column from the Party line.

Lewis and his political colleague, Councilwoman Patricia Cindea, who also chairs the local Republican Committee, raised two candidates who submitted petitions to run: Anthony Tumminia and Margaret Conrad, both of Prospect Avenue. Other members of the Republican Committee raised two candidates: incumbent Councilman Richard Diver and former Republican Committeeman Ray Miller. County Republican Chair John Bennett granted the party line ballot placement to Diver and Miller, who over the years had proved themselves to be loyal, hard-working Republicans.

Tumminia and Conrad would have been granted ballot placement on a separate line, had they not withdrawn their petition. Heightsonline blogged a story about their withdrawal: click here to access that post. No one forced them to drop their bid for Council seats. The County Chair simply picked the candidates he was familiar with, who he knew already had a relationship with the local voters, instead of choosing two completely unknown candidates with no track records.

Heightsonline thinks the gadflies protest too much in attempting to make this a campaign issue!