By MARTIN L. MARKS Professor Murray Sabrin recently announced his bid to become the Republican nominee for this year’s U.S. Senate race against Democrat Cory Booker. Professor Sabrin has been a candidate for office before and is also a frequent contributor to the PolitickerNJ website. Based upon the facts that New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in more than four decades, Booker has just come off a victory for the office in the 2013 special election, and Booker now has a burgeoning campaign war chest, the ultimate Republican nominee will no doubt have an uphill battle to unseat the incumbent. It is my strong feeling that Professor Murray Sabrin, while able to articulate some admirable positions on important issues, is simply undeserving of the Republican nomination.
Sabrin could probably be best described as libertarian in nature and has been an advocate and surrogate for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in his forays into presidential politics. He therefore has a natural following in New Jersey for those that identify with Paul and the Libertarian brand. And herein begins the problem for Sabrin and the Republican Party. Sabrin was the third party Libertarian candidate for New Jersey Governor in 1997 and siphoned away nearly enough votes to cost Republican Christine Whitman the election and prematurely catapult Democrat Jim McGreevey into the Governor’s office. Subsequently, when Sabrin or a candidate he supported in a Republican primary did not ultimately receive the party’s nomination, Sabrin did not hesitate to publicly badmouth the GOP nominee during the General Election campaign against the Democrat. Just last year, Sabrin supported the candidacy of Dr. Alieta Eck in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate special election against Steve Lonegan. Of course Lonegan was the victor in the primary yet Sabrin unleashed a steady public attack against Lonegan, some of it right here on the PolitickerNJ website, all during the General Election campaign against Booker. One cannot publicly bash the duly elected nominee of the party in one election year and then expect the party to unite behind him in the next.
Regardless of positions on the issues, if one chooses to vie in party politics and the primary process with the expectation that the party will unite behind him or her if they become the party’s duly elected nominee, then I believe there is an implied contract that one should also be prepared to support the party’s elected nominee if it is someone else. At the very least, if you cannot publicly support the nominee, keep your mouth shut during the General Election campaign and don’t bash the party’s candidate. Murray Sabrin fails this test miserably.
Ultimately, Murray Sabrin is an opportunist who uses the Republican Party whenever he finds it convenient and therefore is undeserving of its support. That being said, if on Primary Election Day my fellow Republicans forgive his transgressions and nominate Sabrin to take on Cory Booker in November, I will be fully supportive and perhaps the first to write Murray a campaign check. I am certain that this would be the right thing to do. What I am not certain of is whether Murray Sabrin would agree to this sentiment.
Martin L. Marks served as Mayor of Scotch Plains Township from 2000-08