In a statement issued Wednesday morning, GOP gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Richard A. Merkt (R-Mendham) called on Republican State Committee Chairman Tom Wilson to resign his post immediately “in the best interests of the party.”
“After years of failure, it is time for the New Jersey State GOP to change horses and look to new leadership if it wants to succeed in 2009,” said Merkt.”Wilson has overseen a series of dismal state campaigns, reducing the Republican party to essential irrelevance in New Jersey state politics.”
Merkt called Wilson’s handling of the U.S. Senate Primary a “fiasco,” in which the establishment juggled one candidate after another before running with former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, and getting soundly beaten by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park). In particular, the party’s selection of political neophyte and food heir Andy Unanue, whose short-lived candidacy dissolved in jarring headlines about his party boy past, galled Merkt.
“The Unanue episode provides a sad verdict on Tom Wilson’s lack of judgment,” said the long-shot GOP gubernatorial candidate. “It was pitifully obvious that he never vetted his recruit’s background, which is an inexcusable blunder by a state party chairman. Moreover, things only got worse, as Wilson’s next choice got creamed by what should have been a vulnerable opponent.”
Merkt made it clear he stands with fellow Morris County legislator, state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris), who last week also urged Wilson to quit as party chairman.
“The sad part is that, under Tom Wilson’s management, the New Jersey State Republican Party has continued to make the same mistakes over and over again, all the while hoping for a different outcome,” said Merkt. “As Einstein once observed, ‘that’s just plain crazy.’”