The late John Renna would have viewed the lack of filing day activity by the Hudson County Republicans as a lost opportunity. As the on-and-off Essex County Republican Chairman between 1977 and 1996, Renna had a few wins by watching the Democratic primary from the sidelines and then figuring out his ticket over the summer. That's what happened in 1986, when Essex County Executive Peter Shapiro's popularity plummeted — especially among Democrats. Sensing an opportunity, Renna pulled aging former Assemblyman Carl Orechio off the ticket and replaced him with Nicholas Amato, who had won three terms as Surrogate as a Democrat before Shapiro dumped him from the party line a few months earlier. For Surrogate, Renna ran another party switcher: Earl Harris, the Newark City Council President. The result was a GOP landslide.
But those old Essex battles seem tame compared to today's Hudson County political wars. Still, Hudson County GOP Chairman Jose Arango failed to file candidates for Senate and Assembly in the 31st and 33rd districts — where Democrats are at Defcon One. By not having Republican candidates on the fall ballot, Arango loses the ability to deal (Republicans still have a base vote of about 20%) with the defeated slates who might like a second chance in November.