Mercer county Republicans will meet tomorrow night to consider an amendment that would allow for the ousting of Chairman Roy Wesley who has drawn the ire of some committee members for the party’s performance in recent elections.
Among the disgruntled members is former 12th District Congressional Candidate Scott Sipprelle, who has made it clear he’d like Wesley to resign from his position. The chairman is in the middle of a two-year term.
A letter circulated among members late last year also contained criticism of Wesley’s handling of a lawsuit filed by pollster Kellyanne Conway, who is suing the party for payment of work she performed nearly a decade ago.
The “no-confidence” letter also criticized Wesley for failing to support candidates in the county, a charge he has denied.
In order to pass the amendment, a majority of committee members present must vote to consider it. If that vote is successful, a super majority of two thirds of the members present would be needed to amend the party’s constitution.
In the event that the amendment passes, members of the committee have attempted to call a second meeting for tomorrow night in order to vote on the resolution to boot Wesley. Wesley has said that meeting was not called by him so is unauthorized, however, sources inside the party say they have collected signature from more than half of the committee members, which would enable them to call the second meeting.
“He is gone,” said one source. “I don’t’ know where he think he is going to get his votes from but consider that if more than 50 percent of the members have signed the letter calling for the meeting, that doesn’t look good for him.
Sources say if Wesley is dumped he will be replaced by either current Vice Chairwoman Maria Bua, or Robbinsville Mayor David Fried. Sources said the two could even share the chairmanship.
For his part, Wesley remains confident.
“I don’t think they have the votes,” said Wesley, adding as he has in the past that he will not resign. “I don’t think the amendment will pass and I think this is a big time waster. The people that want me out are either people who were not successful in their election or others, who are looking for the job for themselves,” he said.
Republicans have had mixed success in the county that boasts a Democratic registration majority. The party holds the mayor’s seat and all council seats in Hamilton, the biggest municipality in the county, but recently lost the senate seat in the 14th district that had been in GOP control for two decades.
Attempts to gain ground on the freeholder board have been unsuccessful and the party has had no success in reclaiming the county executive seat they lost when former executive Bob Prunetti resigned leaving Republican County Clerk Kathy DiCostanzo to face Democrat Brian Hughes, who won in a close race. Hughes went on to win a second term and has already announced his intention to run again in the fall.