WAYNE – John Traier defeated Scott Heck tonight to become the new chairman of the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization.
Traier had the backing of outgoing Chair Scott Rumana.
Of 373 votes cast, Traier received 210 votes and Heck got 163 votes.
“The most important thing we need to do as a party is win as a party,” said Traier. “We have to learn how to work together for the good of the Republican Party, and you have my commitment to make sure that happens. I got into this race to see the Republican Party win.”
Heck stood with Traier at the front of the room here at the Grand Chalet.
“This was a little family squabble – and it’s over,” said the new chairman, who complimented his rival as the best possible opponent.
He spoke to the future direction of a party organization shredded by internal strife and dogged by lack of crossover power. Heck would have been the chairman tonight but for Rumana’s spider senses tingling when former GOP Chairman (and Heck backer) Peter Murphy of Totowa filed a slate of challengers against the regular Republicans in front of the April 2 filing deadline.
Rumana and Traier shared the same worries, which finally led to their strategy to put forward the latter as a candidate.
“If we don’t have a party that doesn’t appeal to non-white … voters, we’re going nowhere as a party,” said Traier, who won with the backing of Republicans from Paterson, Passaic, Clifton and Wayne.
The vanquished Heck took his turn at the microphone.
“You’re a great friend and a great choice for us,” he told Traier. “Sometimes families squabble. We all need to stay focused on getting our freeholders elected and getting all our people in our towns elected. John, I pledge my support to you. Reasonable people can disagree and still get along.”