RED BANK – This was Monmouth, but Middlesex was on the invites.
The crowd packed into the rooms upstairs at the Dubliner and did a Friday before the big Tuesday rally for 6th Congressional District GOP establishment candidate Diane Gooch.
Self-proclaimed Gooch gals willing to prop the Rumson millionaire newspaper publisher up as the pride of Monmouth waited for the candidate to arrive, while one of the tables early contained incoming Middlesex County GOP Chairman Sam Thompson and his team, who appear just as eager to break apart the Democratic Party’s stranglehold on Middlesex County government.
Republican County Clerk candidate Harold V. Kane and Sheriff’s candidate Keith B. Hackett mixed with the Monmouth set, who still have that 2009 swagger for having given wining Gov. Chris Christie a plurality big enough to deflate the will of Hudson County.
“Serious candidates,” Thompson told PolitickerNJ.com. “We have a good chance of winning this year.”
Having a self-financing Republican at the top of the ticket running against U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) in the November general will give Thompson room to focus on his countywide quarry.
At the far end of the bar, Monmouth County Republican Organization Chairman Joe Oxley was talking – about Middlesex.
“I don’t know if he (Gov. Chris Christie) won Middlesex last year (by four percentage points), or whether it was given to him, but he was the first Republican in a while to win Middlesex,” Oxley told a circle of cocktail sippers with Gooch stickers on their lapels.
The sense of north country opportunity abounded.
This crowd of Gooch supporters at the Dubliner for this critical last week rally included Assemblywoman Mart Pat Angelini (R-Ocean) and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver), but no state senators.
“You’d have to ask them,” Gooch spokeswoman Toni Angelini said of the absence of state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown). “They’ve been very supportive and will be with us on Tuesday.”
The favorite to take on Pallone, Gooch first has to get through Tuesday’s primary against Highlands Mayor Anna Little, who’s counting on the blue collar Bayshore and lower Middlesex to rise up against the Rumson-Red Bank in-crowd of Gooch and her backers.
But Gooch – whose signs and lit drops are much in evidence in the northern portion of the 6th District, which mostly constitutes Middlesex – has an in up there, and they were at the Dubliner on Friday night, and with a purpose.