Civil war in Mercer GOP

Mercer County Republicans will attempt to amend the party constitution as part of their continued efforts to oust County Chairman Roy Wesley, who has said he will not step down.

At a meeting of the party executive committee last week, committee members, who have already expressed their frustration with Wesley in a letter reportedly signed by the bulk of the members, passed a resolution expressing intent to amend the constitution to allow the committee to replace the chairman.

As written now, no mechanism exists to boot Wesley from his spot before his term is up in two years.

Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried, who voted in favor of the resolution, said when the majority of the committee is no longer behind you as chairman, your days are numbered.

“When 30 of you 38 executive committee people sign a letter telling you it’s time to go, it’s time to go,” Fried said.

The committee plans a vote next month to amend the constitution and then a subsequent vote to remove Wesley.  Fried and others say there is wide support for the measure.

For his part, the chairman says he is not going anywhere.

“I have no intention of resigning,” Wesley said.  “It doesn’t mean I’m going to be here until the last day of 2012, but if I do resign it will be at a time and place of my choosing and for reasons that make sense to me.  I will not be run out.”

Wesley said he has no problem with an amendment that would allow for the removal of the chairman but he thinks it’s bad government to pass an amendment directed at one person.

According to party sources the effort to oust Wesley, first reporter by PolitickerNJ, has been spearheaded by former 12th District Congressional Candidate Scott Sipprelle who lost his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Rush Holt. 

Sipprelle is reportedly unhappy with the support he received from Wesley and the Mercer GOP and was the author of the “no confidence” letter circulated among the party earlier this month.

While party members say Sipprelle’s letter has received overwhelming support, Wesley said he has never seen an official version.  He has a copy he obtained but not one signed by the majority of the executive committee.

In a follow up to that letter, Sipprelle, who did not return a call for comment, blasted Wesley for being unsupportive and outlined what he said were the successes of his failed candidacy.

“A party chairman should support and encourage these types of efforts, not disdain or mock them. Speaking for myself, I can not and will not support a Chairman who is so stubbornly disconnected from what really matters to see his own failings,” Sipprelle said in an email sent to the executive committee.

The letter and the internal strife has sparked an email war of sorts as members have expressed their discontent with Wesley’s decision to change the locks on the county headquarters and with Wesley’s handling of a lawsuit brought by pollster Kellyanne Conway seeking payment for work she did for the party in 2003 on behalf of then county executive candidate Cathy DiCostanzo.

In one such email committee member Shirley Guerieri called Wesley out for “childish and bizarre behavior” over his decision to change the locks at the party headquarters – which he says was made for security reasons – and lambastes the chairman for his alleged attempts to get his wife a position with the Christie administration.

Guereri also calls on Wesley to step down.

“Roy, also you think people want to get rid of you because of Dave Fried but that is not the reason at all.  You are not effective leader and it doesn’t have anything to do with any one person or people, just you,” she said in an email to committee members.

In another email, Deputy Chairman Joe Truch takes Wesley to task for what he also calls the chairman’s lack of support for candidates among several other issues.

“I can say without reservation I have never seen a chairman less involved in promoting, supporting and advising our candidates,” Truch said in an email obtained by PolitickerNJ. “Chairman Wesley is MIA when it comes to our candidates.  The few decisions he has made have resulted in disaster. “

Wesley defends his record and says he has made strides as chairman to get the party, once in disarray, back on solid footing.  The candidates chosen have been strong he said, but the county is a tough place for Republicans to win.



Civil war in Mercer GOP