Layton, Currie, McClellan re-elected

Bill Layton was re-elected Burlington County GOP Chairman without opposition tonight. Dottie Spellman was elected Vice Chair, replacing Dawn Lacy.

In Passaic County, veteran Democratic County Chairman John Currie ran unopposed. Mercer County Democratic Chairman Richard McClellan, who had previously announced his intention to retire, was re-elected.

Read McClellan's address to the Mercer Democrats:

As many of you know, earlier this year, I had made known my intention to step down as your County Chair after 6 years of service. There has been considerable speculation on why I made that decision and frankly I see no need to go into that tonight, beyond saying that I have done what I set out to do and more when I first sought your support for this job.

I think it is more productive to share with you why I reconsidered my decision and what I see for the future of our party during the next two years.

I have been gratified by the many members of this body who have approached me and urged me to reconsider and to seek another term. County Executive Brian Hughes was most persuasive in that regard.

Just as persuasive have been the many friends I have made in the rank and file of our party leadership. Your are the lifeblood of this organization and I treasure the support you have shown.

The arguments these friends made crystallized for me the notion that my work was not done as Chair. That in focusing on what we have achieved in the County, (And, we have accomplished a great deal) I had lost track of the big picture. What is at stake this year is not just Mercer politics, but in fact a chance to help change our nation. These friends helped me understand that, as someone who has dedicated much of my adult life to electing Democrats to office, I could hardly stand on the sidelines and not help secure in the best way I could our party’s future and the future of our nation.

This is a Democratic year. During the Presidential Primary in February we saw a Democratic turnout in Mercer of 110%. The excitement of the presidential contest brought thousands of new voters to the Democratic Party and our challenge now is to see that those voters stay with us and that they bring THEIR families, their Friends and their neighbors to the Democratic Column this November and in future years.

A week ago our party held a primary for all the other offices up for election in November.

As a party, we were faced were faced with two immense challenges in that election.

First, our endorsed candidate for the US Senate Incumbent Frank Lautenberg, was the subject of a late and intense challenge from Congressman Rob Andrews. It is a tribute to the credibility and power of our annual nominating convention that we remained unified behind Senator Lautenberg. So much so in fact that we delivered 74% of the Democrats who voted in that Primary to the Senator. That represents the fifth highest percentage performance of all the Counties in New Jersey. The Senator recognizes how important Mercer County was to his primary victory and he has asked me personally to thank all of you for your support.

Second, in a move that would tear most party organizations apart, we opted to endorse a new candidate over an incumbent Democratic freeholder for reelection. I commend the Democrats who made that difficult decision and kept our party strong at the same time.

All this was prelude for the big show.

We stand at a crossroads for America. In eight years of Republican leadership, our government has squandered over four thousand American lives in a war of uncertain motivation and questionable goals. We have seen the very rich widen the gap unconscionably between themselves and the middle class and the poor. We have seen an energy policy institutionalized that delivers $4 a gallon gasoline to the consumer and record profits to the oil companies. A new home is an unattainable dream for many American families as is any semblance of affordable, high quality health care. Our economy teeters on the brink of recession or worse.

Our government has alienated our friends and allies on the world stage and made America less safe in the world.

Changing all that is not going to be easy.

Some people have said that America wasn’t ready to elect a woman as President. Some people, even some within our own party, have said that America isn’t ready to elect a black man as President. What I do know is that America IS ready to elect a DEMOCRAT as President. AND, I know Barack Obama is THAT Democrat.

As your chair, I will not be campaigning for any candidate on our slate because of the color of their skin, or because of their gender or because of their ethnic background or their religion. I will be campaigning for them because they are Democrats. And as Democrats they hold the key to restoring the dream of America for ALL Americans. To ensure that we are successful this November, I ask you to do the same.

Fellow Democrats, years from now, when I have to account for what I have accomplished on this earth, I will hold myself fortunate that I was given this one golden chance to step once more into the breach…to contribute in my own way… to restoring that American dream..to changing our nation for the better.

Fellow democrats, I ask you to join me now to see that there is a promised land and that we can get there if we work together.

Fellow Democrats…I ask you to join me and help us win for Barack Obama, to win for Frank Lautenberg, to win for Rush Holt and Josh Zeitz to win for Sheriff Kevin Larkin, to win for Freeholders Lucy Walter, John Cimino and Dan Benson, to win for our local Democratic candidates, but most importantly to win for our nation, our future and the people.

Layton, Currie, McClellan re-elected