Insiders say that Ortiz was elected County Chairman last summer to replace Guy Talarico mainly because of his self proclaimed skills as a uber fundraiser. He boasted of raising funds for state and national candidates and of being a member of the New Jersey State Republican Committee Chairman’s Club. The party faithful took Ortiz seriously, and candidates for county and local office eagerly awaited the flow of campaign funds for the first time in years. (Kathleen Donovan’s primary campaign for county executive in 2006 raised more money than the county organization raised in two full years).
The wait continues. Ortiz held a fundraiser earlier this week and announced today that the event produced $120,000 (the net…after expense amount was not released). He has reportedly already told the candidates for Freeholder and Sheriff that there’s not enough to fund even a minimal countywide effort. With Joseph Coniglio off the ballot, the 38th district is not competitive. And Republicans say Ortiz is not spending much county GOP money in District 39, where State Senator Gerald Cardinale, Assemblyman John Rooney and Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk face tough races for re-election.
That leaves the municipal races — with control at stake in a number of key towns including Rutherford and Fair Lawn.