How important is it to have the first column in the 40th district Republican primary? It depends who you ask.
To O’Toole, having the first column is significant, but more so to his opponents, who he said were banking on getting it. He said that some people think occupying the first line can give a candidate a 10 percent advantage, but did not say whether he believed it.
”Even though we’re not allowed to go into convention, we have the coveted line one,” said O’Toole. “Our opponents put all their stock in getting line one – they said they would be devastated if they didn’t get it. Well, they didn’t get it.”
Originally, Bergen County clerk Kathleen Donovan would not allow the BCRO candidates to run on the same line because they did not file joint petitions.
“These guys just didn’t follow the law, much like when they filed for their ballots to be the Reagan Republican Team in Essex and Passaic,” said O’Toole. “They just screwed up and they’ve got nobody to blame but themselves.”
But Caliguire said that, while it couldn’t have hurt, he never thought getting his team in the first column was a big deal. His main concern was just getting his slate on the same line.
“We feel like the court vindicated our position, which is that we were entitled to have a line in which all the candidates endorsed by the Bergen County Republican Organization could run, and that’s what happened,” said Caliguire. “It would have been nice to have a drawing, but at the end of the day, it’s essentially a one in three chance of getting the first position anyway… Frankly it may be a bit of fate intervening, because it turns out that we’re on the right side and they’re on the left side, which frankly I think reflects our ideology.”