Christie favored to win Union convention with ease; race to watch is for third place between Merkt and Levine

Union County Republicans will hold the state’s first convention of the 2009 gubernatorial campaign on Saturday, and former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie is the strong favorite to win that vote. Earlier this month, Christie released a list of 69 endorsements from Union County Republicans, including County Chairman Philip Morin, seventeen of 21 GOP municipal chairs, all eight Republican mayors, and the county’s three Republican legislators.

Former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan is doing some campaigning in Union, but is not focused on winning the organization line. The real race – for whatever it’s worth — might be for third place between Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) and Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine. Merkt and Levine live in counties that border Union.

Three other Republican candidates are not participating in the convention. Morris County Freeholder James Murray, who says he is mulling a run for Governor, did not send Union County GOP a letter asking to be nominated by their February 2 deadline; neither did two little-know businessmen who have filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission: Dennis Knight of Newark and David Brown of South Brunswick.

Brown is the inventor of the String Thing, which according to the Home News Tribune is “a device that quickly wraps a bundle of newspapers, magazines or junk mail without scissors or tying knots.”

Christie favored to win Union convention with ease; race to watch is for third place between Merkt and Levine