Message to would-be Republican candidates: George Gilmore is a key player, call him

Former NFL star Jon Runyan has already fumbled: he put out a statement expressing his interest in running for Congress without first talking to the most powerful Republican in his district, Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore. Gilmore, a superstar since he delivered a 70,000-vote margin for Gov.-elect Christopher Christie last week, has reacted poorly to demonstrations of disrespect like this in the past. In 2005, Gilmore gave GOP gubernatorial candidate Douglas Forrester a list of calls he needed to make to secure support in Ocean County. To Gilmore's annoyance, Forrester never made most of the calls; Gilmore instead gave the Ocean County GOP line to Robert Schroeder, who diligently courted local Republicans. Forrester won the primary, but never got Gilmore fully engaged; he won Ocean County by about a third of what Christie did.

Message to would-be Republican candidates: George Gilmore is a key player, call him