Bill Layton and the Republican Party are trying to regroup after devastating losses in Burlington County last week, which the GOP county chairman said were the result of key Philadelphia ad buys by the Democrats, the economic climate and high turnout in the urban areas.
In the presidential race, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il.) blew out Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in Burlington by 19 percent.
“We did everything we could have done,” said Layton. “The hard part about this is most times you can come away from an election say, ‘if only we had a little more money, we could have done other piece of mail here, another ad there.’ But just looking at the numbers, it’s hard to put in perspective things we could have done differently. It was just too much. The only thing I can say right now on the positive side is there won’t be a lot of excitement next year for Jon Corzine.”
Democratic victories in race for two freeholder seats resulted in the ouster of Freeholder Stacy Jordan and Freeholder Director Aubrey Fenton.
“It’s disappointing,” said Layton, specifically addressing the loss by Fenton, whom the Burlington GOP regularly listed as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor.
“But by no means is he going to vanish into the woodwork,” the chair added.
Layton said he also hopes failed 3rd Congressional District candidate Medford Mayor Chris Myers would return to challenge Congressman-elect John Adler.
“I hope he seriously considers running again for Congress,” said Layton.
Basking in last week’s victory but also making it clear that the existing 3-2 Republican majority on the freeholder board means his party’s work is not over, Democratic Party Chair Rick Perr objected to Layton’s emphasis on Obama as a reason why Republicans lost.
“If you look back at their past mantra it was that people may vote for a Democratic presidential candidate but not for Democrats at the county level,” said Perr. “Now they’re saying that everybody got so swept up in emotion that they were incapable of independent thought. The reality is that over the last three years, Democrats have run a consistent campaign against them.”