Proudly embracing the slogan “Tea Party Republican,” former associations executive William Eames is challenging in a Republican Primary to run for the state Senate in Legislative District 27.
“I was not planning to run, but when we discovered the 27th had been carved up, I made a call to (Morris County Republican Chairman) John Sette and (Essex County Republican Chairman) Kevin O’Toole and at that point, they did not have specific candidates,” Eames told PolitickerNJ.com. “We needed leadership. We could not abandon the 27th District, so I put my hat in the race and I’m in it full-bore.”
On that election filing deadline on Monday, April 11th, establishment Republicans ultimately put forward the name of William Sullivan, an attorney and councilman from Essex Fells, as the candidate they want to run against incumbent state Sen. Richard Codey (D-27) of Roseland.
A former executive director of local chambers of commerce and a resident of Whippany for nearly 30 years, Eames stayed on the ballot and intends to win his head-to-head with Sullivan, who did not return calls for comment.
“We have dozens of volunteers, we’ll have a website coming up and very focused communications and fundraising,” promised Eames. “Mr. Sullivan has more money than I have now – but I’m not sure that will hold.”
The 27th District became less Democratic with the inclusion of several Morris County towns, but it still leans Democrat. Codey, moreover, has a $2 million war-chest. Still, if he gets through Sullivan, Eames says he’s the candidate to take on the incumbent.
“Mr. Codey is a lifelong politician who has been in Trenton for a very long time,” said Eames. “I worked with him back in the 1970’s on some chamber issues. The people are facing great concern over the cost of government, and Mr. Codey has spent a lot of time trying to get government to solve all the problems. Already on the campaign trail, Maplewood residents are telling me their taxes are intolerable. In West Orange, people remind me they’re paying more in school taxes than anywhere else. In Morris County, the people’s concerns are slightly different but not much. They’re concerned about the state’s economic engine.”
Eames said he knows his opponents in this organization-dominant state will attempt to depict him as the functionary of a group of political crazies, but he stands by the Tea Party’s core mission.
“I stand for constitutionally limited government. The Constitution makes it clear that government should not be all things to all people,” said the GOP candidate. “I believe in fiscal responsibility. If we can’t afford to pay back debt, we should not be incurring debt.”
“My experience with Tea Party folks goes back two years and extends locally, regionally, statewide and nationally,” Eames added. “While I understand our political adversaries like to paint it as extreme and crazy, the vast bulk of folks are reasonable and they believe in very reasonable things. I don’t think belief in the Constitution is an extreme argument.”
Asked to assess the tenure of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, Eames said, “This is a tough, tough time, and I give anyone credit who would serve now as governor. I have attended a number of the governor’s town hall meetings. He is facing a number of issues pretty squarely. Sometimes his personality is a little strong and it gets in the way of the issues, but I commend him for putting those things on the table.”