EAST BRUNSWICK – Princeton venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle defeated Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre for the Republican line in Middlesex. The unofficial vote tally was 220 for Sipprelle and 134 for Halfacre.
Moments after winning, a radiant Sipprelle embraced Assemblyman Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge) outside the auditorium here at Middlesex County Vocational School.
“I think the voters know what Republican values are, and that’s what I tried to express in my comments, that’s what I’ve done in life, and that’s what the voters voted on,” said the victor, who in part chalked up his success to Halfacre’s back-fired effort to depict Sipprelle as a wobbly Republican.
“I think it’s tough to demonize somebody when you meet them personally, and I worked incredibly hard to get my message out and made a lot of personal connections,” Sipprelle added. “This experience today renewed my confidence in the wisdom of the Republican voters and what their desires are for our country; those are my desires as well. My message is a positive message, and I think the voters decided that they preferred that to a negative one.”
Now 3-0 with one county line to go, Team Sipprelle didn’t express over-confidence as they head toward Halfacre’s home turf for a Monday Monmouth County closed screening, but they couldn’t help but see today’s win as a very favorable portent.
“This says a lot about our momentum heading into Monmouth County,” admitted Sipprelle campaign consultant Chris Russell.
The win was as big for nascent GOP Chairman Thompson as it was for Sipprelle.
Thompson had worked vigorously for Sipprelle and publicly endorsed him after intiially saying he would remain neutral.
Despite winning the support of the county screening committee in Midddlesex, Halfacre received no build up – and even weathered an angry rejoinder from Thompson after his speech.
“I was a little surprised, I guess I kind of bothered him with that,” Halfacre said, who took heart in scoring well in some of the smaller municipalities.
But the big towns delivered Siprelle ultimately, with the venture capitalist winning Thompson’s Old Bridge, 28 to 15, and East Brunswick catapulting Sipprelle, 61 to 21.
“Onward,” said Halfacre, trying to stay bouyant in the midst of bad news.