Gloucester Republicans to fight it out on Tuesday

On Tuesday, Gloucester Republicans will decide whether to stick with four year chair Loran Oglesby or choose a new leader, Bill Fey.

It will be the culmination of an internal power struggle that began when last year’s Republican Freeholder candidates, having suffered a loss in the general election, publicly criticized Oglesby for an alleged lack of leadership. Fey, the Franklin Municipal Chair, took up their cause and became the leader of an anti-Oglesby movement that ran its own slate of candidates in Tuesday’s primary.

The primary results, however, do little to presage which faction will win on Tuesday night. Oglesby lost her bid for the Republican nomination for freeholder along with running mate Stephen Austin (Oglesby, unable to recruit a candidate in time for the filing deadline, ran as a placeholder). But the anti-Oglesby candidates running with Fey’s faction – Phyllis Scapellato and Larry Wallace – also lost. The winners, Matthew Burns and Ronald Brittin, ran under gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan.

Still, although Brittin ran on a line disconnected from the local power struggle, he is sympathetic with Fey’s cause, and said his running mate is as well.

“Without reciting the litany of reasons I have for being unable to work with Oglesby, suffice it to say, that if she is re-elected County Chair, we will not work her in the fall,” he said. “…If Bill is elected to the Chair next week, we will work closely with the county party.”

Fey said that he is “on track” to winning control of the party, and noted that his faction’s candidates did prevail in the Harrison and South Harrison primaries, along with a legislative contest in Districts 4 and 5 – despite having an unfavorable fourth column ballot position

“Ms. Oglesby had the county line with Chris Christie at the top of the ticket and finished dead last in a six person Freeholder race. One would think a county chair would have more support,” said Fey.

Fey complained that Oglesby has not publicized a time and location of the meeting, giving his team little time to prepare for it.

“Every county executive member should have their voice heard. They are elected to speak for their individual districts and should demand that right. Tampering with that right tears at the very fabric of our party,” he said.

Oglesby responded that she is only required to give that information three days before the meeting.

“That’s all they need,” she said. “We’re still working out some details.”

Oglesby said that negative flyers sent out by Fey’s group probably turned people away from both of their slates, funneling disenchanted voters to the Lonegan slate. She did not think it meant much for the upcoming leadership fight, however.

“I personally don’t think that will make a difference at all, except for the fact that it should enlighten the committee to the fact that attacks in the press, personal and public, against the party have possibly given and effect that they may not have wanted. The endorse slate of the county did not win,” she said. Gloucester Republicans to fight it out on Tuesday