Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It has been a week since Adam Puharic has been elected as our County Chairman, and there have been many theories as to how or why.
In a nutshell, he got more votes.
Well, a number of reasons. First, let's look at the field of candidates. For starters, you had no organized, united opposition to former chairman Fred Niemann like you had against Niemann's predecessor Bill Dowd in 2004 with Monmouth GOP for Change. Instead, you had a pretty large field of possible candidates, which seemed to change on a daily basis. This group represented a wide array of views within our party. Two early entries were former Freeholder Ed Stominski and Neptune Planning Board member Mel Hood. Stominski and Hood teamed up as a slate.
A possible consensus candidate emerged in Sheriff Joe Oxley, only to withdraw from the race. Oxley's withdrawal brought Red Bank GOP Chairman Jim Giannell into the race. Giannell has a reputation for grass-roots organization and coalition building.
Towards late May, former Undersheriff Adam Puharic was mentioned as a possible candidate; he soon declared as a candidate, as did Millstone Township Committeeman Elias Abliheira. Abilheira would withdraw and endorse Puharic.
Giannell and Puharic would soon emerge as the front-runners in the race.
How did Puharic come from behind for such a resounding victory?
Again, there was no organized opposition to Niemann's chairmanship; when Niemann bowed out a major issue was removed from the race. A major obstacle to Giannell consolidating support was Stominski's candidacy, as both men drew support from the same base.
Philosophy was not a factor here as it was in Bergen County, where you had Reagan conservatives versus Whitman-type RINO's. Giannell and Puharic are both well-known as conservatives.
Many Republicans had concerns that Puharic would be a continuation of the Niemann regime, with Dan Gallic, PACs, etc. Puharic assured committee people that he was his own man, and most believed that. He was not a part of the inner circle of "bunker boys."
Finally, let's take a look at the recent choices made by the County Committee: Freeholder Anna Little and Freeholder Candidate Andrew Lucas. Both were "come-from-behind" candidates, and more importantly, both are from the youth of our party. After years of a continually aging leadership, Monmouth County Republicans have been turning to the youth for the future of our party. Anna Little is 38, Andrew Lucas is 28 and Adam Puharic is 35. Puharic's election continues that trend.
(The trend towards youth is actually a return to past practices. Harry Larrison was 39 when he first went on the Board of Freeholders, Ted Narozanick was 27 when elected to the Englishtown Borough Council and about 37 when he first came into county government.)
It is no secret that this blog supported Jim Giannell; however the committee has spoken. Adam is the Chairman, and it is important for our entire party that he do a great job. We wish him the best of luck in leading our party.


William H Seward said...

Good analysis Mr. President.

I would add what Tom DeSeno said, that is that Adam was not an insider with either of the previously battling factions, and that for the most part the committee is wisely tired of the fighting and is focused on winning in November.

Also, Jim Giannell was not able to close the deal with Peter Carton, nor put aside concerns about his fund raising ability. That Jim was unable to persuade Ed Stominski to bow out and support him raised doubts about how well he could bring opposing interests within the party together in future races.

Finally, Adam's team outworked Jim's team. Jim's team with Jim as the candidate lacked what Jim's team for other candidates had, i.e., Jim as an enthusiastic whip and honest vote counter. Jim had to be surprised by the margin of Adam's victory. If he had a good vote count going into the convention he might have bowed out and endorsed Adam.

A word about the concerns that both you, Mr. President, and I raised before the convention regarding Adam's apparent access to the party stationary and email list. Given what we experienced in February and April, we assumed that this might be DiBella II, with regard to favoritism on the Chairman's part. It occurred to me last week, after the convention, that maybe no one else asked for access to those resources other than those who used them in all of the aforementioned races, and that maybe any candidate who asked for them could have had them. I have no knowledge that that is the case, its just a thought that occurred to me. In either event, this is an issue that should be governed by the by-laws going forward.

The Big Professor said...

It amuses me to no end the preoccupation you people have with who your chairman is or should be. You sound like some of my younger students talking about their employment in this book store or that «fast-food» establishment.
Life is so much more!
Soon, your chairmanship will matter not, as Monmouth will become Democratic!

Honest Abe said...

The Big Professor addressed...

"Soon, your chairmanship will matter not, as Monmouth will become Democratic!"

Yeah, right. When pigs fly, prof.