Cape May County GOP Chairman David Von Savage's letter in opposition to Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson's re-election:
During the past couple of weeks, you have no doubt heard a considerable amount of information regarding the vote for chairman of the NJGOP. As one of 42 members of the state committee, you have the responsibility to decide for yourself by electing the next NJGOP chairman who will serve a two (2) year term.
I am certain that you will agree with me that this is a critical year for the NJGOP if we are ever to take back the Statehouse. Given the urgency of the matter, I would appreciate it if you would allow me the opportunity to communicate what I believe to be relevant information that is critical to your making an informed vote come this Thursday.
Earlier this year – – I believe it was in February or March, during a statewide meeting of Republican chairmen — a motion was made for the immediate adoption by county chairmen to support Chairman Wilson for another two (2) year term effective June 2007. In my 12 years of experience as Cape May County Chairman, this was an unprecedented maneuver.
I have my suspicions why there was an attempt to push through this vote so early and so quickly, but I will only give the facts as they are and let you draw your own conclusions.
Just prior to this vote being called for, Chairman Tom Wilson’s former partner in the Trenton lobbying firm The Strategy Group, Bob Stears, pled guilty to overcharging the Burlington County Bridge Commission by $1 million for services never rendered.
Since then, a $2.8 million lawsuit has been filed in civil court by a Democrat against Chairman Wilson and Mr. Stears seeking repayment to the Burlington County taxpayers of all funds collected by their old lobbying firm. This will be an issue in the 2007 campaigns used by Democrats in their plans to continue the dismantling of the NJGOP.I sympathize with Chairman Wilson when he says that this lawsuit is without merit and is politically motivated. Given my experience with Democrats, I would have to agree.However, Chairman Wilson’s defense actually proves my point – because of Chairman Wilson’s association with Mr. Stears, Tom has become a major target for the Democrat attack machine, and as the campaign heats up, it will only get worse.
How do you think the Democrats will respond to a Republican campaign message that State House corruption under Democrat control equals higher taxes?
You can rest assured Democrat State Chairman Joe Cryan will use the Burlington County Bridge Commission corruption case as a foil to deflect voter attention from a Republican campaign message which states corruption under Democrats equals higher taxes.
My motivation in writing this letter is not associated with any hard feelings toward Chairman Wilson. There are none.
I am strictly looking at the facts and anticipating how the Democrats will exploit Chairman Wilson’s vulnerability for their political gain. I firmly believe that given the circumstances of this lawsuit filed against Chairman Wilson, as well as his past associations with Bob Stears, the time for our State Chairman to step down for the good of the party is now.
Assuming for a moment that requests for documents in discovery related to the Burlington County civil action does not consume a significant amount of the chairman’s campaign and NJGOP administrative time, then certainly depositions likely will. Chairman Wilson should think of the Republican Party first and take care of his personal business without involving our state committee. That is all.
During the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to listen and understand what Pete Mancuso’s vision is for the NJGOP. If Pete is successful in his bid for the chairmanship, I know that he will work with the entire GOP leadership to reach out and raise the necessary funds. We must communicate our party’s message of reform in government. If we do not make this change, November 2007 could very well be a another disaster.
Before deciding how you will vote for NJGOP chairman, I respectfully request you consider the above facts and do the right thing by putting our party first.
The vote will be by secret ballot.