Pennacchio gets another county line

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio won Somerset County tonight, easily rolling over his only opponent, Andy Unanue, at the Somerset County convention.

Pennacchio won almost 80% of the vote, getting 247 votes to Unanue’s 51.

Pennacchio already has the county line in Passaic, Bergen, Middlesex, Hunterdon and Salem Counties, along with hometown status in Morris County.

In his speech, Pennacchio repeated what he says is the need for Republicans appeal to moderate Democratic voters, and added a line showing the frustration he’s felt at watchingthe party establishment continually search for self-funding candidates instead of settling around him.

“I am the only one running who has the experience but so far the only knock on Joe Pennacchio is that he cannot self-fund his candidacy,” he said.

Unanue, who will start be in New Jersey tomorrow after returning from vacation in Vail, Colo., was represented by his close friend, Bergen County Republican Chairman Rob Ortiz. He has the county line in Ocean, Cape May, Atlantic, Monmouth and Hudson.

"Tonight you have an obligation to pick the candidate who can win statewide. That candidate is Andy Unanue," Ortiz said.


Absent was Senate candidate Murray Sabrin, who was barred from participating because of his threat to run an alternate freeholder slate against the county line (Sabrin won the Gloucester County convention last month). His spokesman, George Ajjan, was not happy about it.

“While 4,000 New Jersey families prepare to defend Democracy and freedom of speech in Iraq, a tobacco lobbyist blocked freedom of speech and democracy right here in Somerset County. Shame on (Republican Chairman) Dale Florio.”

Perhaps as a sign of things to come, petitions were circulated for the potential candidacy of Princeton biotech millionaire John Crowley, while at least one operative close to his advisor, Bill Spadea, attended the event.

There’s speculation that if Crowley listens to the prominent Republicans who are urging him to run, Unanue, a former classmate at Bergen Catholic High School, may consider dropping out. Pennacchio gets another county line