Winners and Losers: Week of the Reorgs


Scott Rumana

The assemblyman from Wayne was prepared to give up his chairmanship of the party organization but wanted to make sure longtime foe Peter Murphy didn’t run a slate of county committee seats against the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization (PCRRO). He specifically insisted on that being part of the agreement for him to step aside and back Scott Heck. When Murphy waited until the end and then filed a renegade slate, Rumana cut out of the deal, withdrew his support from Heck, and instead backed accountant John Traier. The departing chairman rapidly consolidated support for his candidate in Clifton, Passaic, Paterson and Wayne to catapult Traier past Heck at Tuesday’s GOP reorganization meeting. Naysayers grumble that Rumana’s move simply perpetuates a longstanding party war between two factions dominated by Rumana and Murphy. But give credit to Rumana for seeing the political tomahawk sailing in his direction and having the reflexes and resources not only to get out of its way, but to then mount an attack out of the urban areas that decimated Heck.

Sheila Oliver

The speaker had a good two weeks in politics, at least outside of the Statehouse. She backed the right horses in three key races. She supported the successful congressional primary candidacies of U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) and Newark Council President Donald Payne Jr., and also backed Vin Gopal over Frank LaRocca in the Monmouth County Democratic Committee chairman’s race.

Sean Kean and Declan O’Scanlon

The pair of GOP assemblymen were the highest-ranking elected officials to endorse John O.Bennett for the chairmanship of the Monmouth County Republican Committee. Bennett beat Christine Hanlon, 309 to 306 votes.

Jon Runyan

The AFL-CIO this week decided to stay out of the Third District general election, which was good news for the Republican incumbent, who’s running against Democrat Shelley Adler.

Mike Doherty

The 23rd District state senator’s former chief of staff, Ed Smith, defeated a longtime incumbent in Warren County for a general election walkover shot at the Warren County Freeholder Board. Doherty also got behind incumbent Chairman Henry Kuhl to deal another loss to his onetime rival, former state Sen. Marcia Karrow.

Mark Smith

He’s not Godzilla over there on the pedestal of a Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) that looks less like the operation Bob Menendez once ran and more like the tatters of yesteryear. But Smith overcame an angry Menendez and capitalized on factionalism to become chairman of the party again.

Henry Kuhl

The state’s longest serving county chairman defeated Guy DeSapio this week to earn another term as chairman of the Hunterdon County Republican Committee.

John O. Bennett

Last seen in a shoving match with South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross, the former Senate president this week became chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Party.

Nick Sacco

The powerhouse from North Bergen saw the election of his ally, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, to the chairmanship of the local Democratic Committee in West New York. Jimenez defeated embattled Mayor Felix Roque for the job.

Chris Christie

His party committees in at least three key counties – Bergen, Monmouth and Passaic – are in a bloody state – but it might not matter to the self-branded governor, up for re-election in 2013. A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released this week shows that for the first time since Christie took office in 2010, 50 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the governor, up 4 percentage points. Those with an unfavorable view dropped to 39 percent, and 11 percent have no opinion.

Paul Brubaker

The classy former reporter landed a job as communications director of the Menendez Campaign and will take his leave after three years working for U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell.


Joe Kyrillos

The debonair state senator ate an uncomfortable headline in which disgraced developer Solomon Dwek alleged meeting with and requesting favors from the former Republican Party Chair and candidate for the United States Senate. It didn’t get better for Kyrillos when his candidate to take over the chairmanship of the Monmouth County Republican Committee came up short by three votes.

Marcia Karrow

The former state senator tried to take revenge on those she thought lost her state Senate race in 2009 and ended up getting destroyed all over again as the challenger she backed, Guy DeSapio, went down in defeat to Henry Kuhl, who had the support of U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance and state Sen. Mike Doherty.

Jeff Jones

A week after the election in which he chose the unsuccessful Steve Rothman over Bill Pascrell in a contest in which Pascrell crushed Rothman, the Mayor of Paterson received a 7-0 vote of no confidence from the Paterson City Council.

The Mercer GOP

Where do you start? It’s a shambles, starting with the party’s highest ranking county official, Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo, facing corruption charges. At this week’s reorganization meeting, Robbinsville Councilman Rich Levesque won by default.

Jon Hornik

The charismatic mayor of Marlboro suffered his first significant political loss this week when his hand-picked choice to take over the Monmouth County Democratic Committee took a drubbing from new Chairman Vin Gopal.

Joe Oxley

Disgraced developer Solomon Dwek splashed his toxicity on the former Monmouth County Sheriff (and Monmouth County GOP Chairman) this week when he said Oxley tipped him off to foreclosure sales before they became public. That’s not the type of question Oxley wants to be answering as a candidate for a judgeship on the state Superior Court.

Peter Murphy

The former chairman of the Passaic County Republican Party backed Scott Heck in the chairman’s battle and lost, as Murphy’s longtime nemesis, Scott Rumana, prevailed with his candidate, John Traier.

Felix Roque

The mayor of West New York lost his bid for the chairmanship of the West New York Democratic Committee to Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez.

Winners and Losers: Week of the Reorgs