Sources say Cumberland GOP chairman will quit

After a bruising loss in November in which his party lost two constitutional officers and its last seat on the freeholder board, Cumberland County Republican Chairman Doug Sorantino is expected to step down from his post tomorrow.

Two Republican sources say Sorantino, a former freeholder who took over the party last year after 33-year reign of former chairman Larry Pepper, will likely be replaced by Bob Greco, a party activist who managed the Republican county campaigns last year. Sorantino’s name has already been removed from the Republican State Committee website.

Sorantino could not immediately be reached for comment. Greco said that he would leave it up to Sorantino to announce his own plans, but acknowledged that he is interested in taking over the post if there is an opening.

“My name has been put in for consideration of chairman, and I would accept the nomination, yes,” said Greco, a 47-year-old health care consultant who is married to the niece of Larry Pepper.

If Greco becomes chairman tomorrow, he will take over the responsibility of rebuilding a party that has typically been in the minority but, until last year, was competitive with local Democrats – holding all three of the county’s constitutional offices and a toe-hold on the freeholder board.

Democratic Chairman Lou Magazzu, who is also the Freeholder Director, has made it clear that he intends to wage an aggressive campaign against the lone remaining county-wide Republican, County Clerk Gloria Noto, a 15-year incumbent who is up for reelection this year.

Greco attributed the Republicans’ bad run last year in part to the coattails of President Barack Obama’s campaign. This year, he said, a backlash against Gov. Corzine – especially if led by former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie – could help Republicans in a similar way.

“In the presidential election last year of course there was a greater influx of people becoming Democrats for the Obama movement. I believe we’ll see the possibility of the same thing appearing this year for the anti-Corzine movement,” he said.