Two weeks after failing to topple Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-Wayne) from his perch on top of the beleaguered Passaic County Regular Republican Organization (PCRRO), leaders of the dissident Republican faction GOP Strong are unsatisfied with his efforts to unite the party.
After overwhelmingly defeating GOP Strong-backed chairman challenger Carl Mazzie – which came a week after fending off a challenge to his assembly seat that was also backed by the group – Rumana said that he would look into creating a system of four co-chairmanships.
GOP Strong co-chairman Michael Mecca, however, said that he hasn’t heard anything about the plan – or anything from Rumana — over the last two weeks.
“We haven’t heard a syllable of a word. Like I said, actions speak louder than words, and we haven’t heard anything,” he said.
Mecca’s comments provide a stark contrast to an op-ed in The Record by former Paterson Mayor Pat Kramer, who called for an end to hostilities between the factions.
“After the mortar shells have cooled and the smoke from the battle has cleared we have not seen gloating by the winners or heard the whining of losers. On the contrary, we have heard only conciliatory words,” Kramer wrote.
Both Rumana and the splinter group’s founder, former PCRRO Chairman Peter Murphy, offered conciliatory words to each other in the immediate aftermath of the convention. The two promised that their organizations would work together – even if a bylaw change pushed by Rumana banned convicted felons – like Murphy, who served just under a year in federal prison for a corruption conviction — from serving in leadership positions.
Rumana and Murphy-allied candidates mingle on the Republican line on the general election ballot. All three freeholder candidates are aligned with Rumana, but GOP Strong-backed county clerk candidate Kristin Corrado beat the Rumana’s candidate in the primary. GOP Strong also has assembly candidates in Districts 34 and 35, and in municipal candidates in several towns.
Mecca said that his group will focus on helping their candidates, and will commit to helping all Republican candidates.
GOP Strong spokesman Thom Ammirato said he suspects Rumana’s after-election tone was mean to lure back donors and political muscle who went to his rival faction.
“It sounds like the captain of the Titanic who hits and iceberg and wants to put someone else behind the wheel,” he said.
Rumana could not be reached for comment.