State Senate candidate Guy Gregg has received endorsements from former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, the New Jersey Right to Life PAC, and the National Rifle Association. Gregg and Sussex County Freeholdr Steve Oroho are battling to succeed State Sen. Robert Littell in the 24th district.
Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, who is backing Oroho, criticized NJRTL for supporting Gregg. "Guy Gregg was pro-choice for nearly 40 years," McHose wrote in a letter to NJRTL Executive Director Marie Tasy. "Now he says he's pro-life, and a big part of that change appears to be this campaign and this endorsement."
Tasy disagreed with McHose's comments.
"We find it strange that you would suddenly object to Guy Gregg’s pro-life position given your past acceptance of New Jersey Right to Life PAC’s mutual team endorsement of both you and Guy Gregg in your 2003 and 2005 Assembly races," said Tasy. "We stand by our endorsement of Guy Gregg for State Senate."
After Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen endorsed Gregg earlier this month, Oroho criticized his rival for accepting the endorsement of the "liberal" Morris County Congressman.
“Steve Oroho is desperately trying to convince Republicans he’s the conservative in the race for Senate, but that’s just talk,” said Schundler. “The true conservative is Guy Gregg and the supporters and advocates lining up for Guy’s candidacy prove it.”
But McHose says 24th district Republicans shouldn't listen to Schundler either.
“Is this the same Bret Schundler who told conservatives that he became a Republican €˜because of Ronald Reagan’ while conveniently forgetting that he was working on liberal Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1984, the last time President Reagan was on a ballot?”
Tasy and NRA State and Local Affairs Director Randy Kozuch touted Gregg's conservative credentials.
McHose's letter to Tasy:
I think this situation can be resolved easily. I was unable to speak to you when you called, and I want to avoid any confusion regarding where I'm coming from by putting this in writing. I certainly was not ok with the conversation we had yesterday morning. I was very disappointed that a decision was made by NJRTL to commit their support to Guy Gregg for the Senate seat now held by my father Bob Littell.
It is my recollection that when we spoke a few months ago while my Dad was still in the race, you indicated to me that you would likely stay out of the primary because two good candidates would be facing off. I was not happy to hear this, and I expressed that. Maybe I am not as demonstrative and direct as needed to convey my disdain for Guy's decision to run for Senate on many levels. Now that my father, the incumbent and life-long pro-life proponent, is out of the race, the seat is an open seat.
It is my understanding that the endorsement process which has been adhered to by the NJRTL has included the opportunity for each candidate to be given a legislative questionnaire and an interview by board members.
As you know, I am the only incumbent running for re-election in the 24th District. I would like you and the other members of the Board of Directors of NJRTL to extend to me the courtesy of formally introducing my team to the Board. I have been a consistent supporter of Life in New Jersey and have, I believe, earned that courtesy.
I respectfully request that Senate candidate Steve Oroho and Assembly candidate Gary Chiusano, members of my team, be given the opportunity to fill out a legislative questionnaire. If a commitment is being made in advance of the regularly practiced vetting process, I feel a disservice is being done to the residents of the 24th district.
The District 24 Senate seat is an open seat. Steve and Gary currently represent 75% of it as Sussex County Freeholders.
Steve Oroho has been pro-life his entire life. He has done good work with Birth Haven — helping to save lives and change lives. Gary is also vocal about his pro-life position. With or without your endorsement, they will be pro-life. It is a matter of conviction with them.
Guy Gregg was pro-choice for nearly 40 years. In 2002, he ran as "the pro-choice conservative" (whatever that means) for the United States Senate. But the polls that told him one thing for statewide office tell him another for the conservative 24th district. Now he says he's pro-life, and a big part of that change appears to be this campaign and this endorsement.
Thank you for your attention to this request. I'm in budget hearings all day and to avoid any confusion on this subject, please respond to me in writing.
Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose,
Assistant Republican Leader
Tasy's response on Thursday evening:
Dear Assemblywoman Alison McHose,
I was quite surprised to learn that your letter addressed to me, which (by the way) I never received, was instead posted on politicsnj. The basic reasons we have endorsed Assemblyman Guy Gregg for the Senate seat in the 24th Legislative District are that he has an exemplary voting record on our issues, and he has taken the time on numerous occasions to attend our rallies or other forums and to fully support our cause. We believe that is really what leadership is all about.
As I told you on the phone yesterday morning, when your father made the announcement that he would not seek re-election, our PAC committed to backing Guy Gregg, a 13 year Assemblyman with a proven pro-life record.
We find it strange that you would suddenly object to Guy Gregg’s pro-life position given your past acceptance of New Jersey Right to Life PAC’s mutual team endorsement of both you and Guy Gregg in your 2003 and 2005 Assembly races.
When individuals switch from the pro-abortion side to the pro-life side, we consider that a victory. It is one of the many goals the pro-life community strives for. We stand by our endorsement of Guy Gregg for State Senate.
Executive Director, New Jersey Right to Life PAC
McHose's statement back:
“It is the process €” or lack thereof €” which I object to. It is, at best, arbitrary €” and certainly unfair.
All I asked for was a fair hearing for my team members.
All I asked is that they have the opportunity to fill out the same questionnaires every candidate has received from you year in and year out.
When did the rules change?”
And Tasy's Friday morning letter to McHose:
Dear Assemblywoman McHose:
As I told you over the phone Wednesday morning,I never received contact from you until after your ticket was assembled. You admitted you were too busy to call me about this matter until Wednesday,March 28th.We were committed to backing Guy Gregg once your father announced he was not running for re-election based on his years in office and solid pro-life voting record.I left two messages for you and sent you an email later on Wednesday to further discuss your concerns, but never received a call back orresponse to my email. I am sorry you were too busy to call me back, but found time to write a letter to me which I never received but instead was sent to politicsnj. Perhaps you will find time to call me today?
Marie Tasy, Executive Director