Tuesday, March 20, 2007


You can build them or you can burn them. In our great Republican Party, with our Big Tent and Politics of Inclusion, Freeholder Rob Clifton has shown his willingness to build bridges. County Chairman Adam Puharic, however, is still playing with matches.
Clifton was reported in the Asbury Park Press as saying that he would welcome having Little as a running mate "if that's what the party chooses."
He was quickly rebuked by Puharic.
Many Republicans are hoping Clifton's leadership can help bring about an end to the battle between Puharic and Little. It is hoped that the awarding of the County Organization line will go to Clifton and Little, and that Republicans can go into November's election united against the Democrats.
Little opted not to participate in Puharic's steering process due to a "hold harmless" clause in the candidates' questionnaire that would absolve the County Organization of any liability for leaks in the background checking process. Basically the candidates would be participating at their own risk.It also appears that Puharic intentionally structured the screening process from the beginning so as to deny Little the line. It is uncertain why, but it appears that Puharic objected to Little's organization of volunteers and supporters in the 2006 campaign. Another theory is that Little, a conservative, drew the ire of the party's "country club" faction, or that her vote against curmudgeonly County Counsel Malcolm V. Carton may have triggered a vendetta. Clifton also voted against Carton.
In a related matter, prospective freeholder candidate J. David Hiers has filed for reelection to the Ocean Township Committee, a move viewed as hedging his bets.
Hopefully, Clifton's move will prompt other Republicans to call for a Clifton - Little ticket, and that the prospective candidates Hiers, Brian Reilly and Jeff Cantor will withdraw their names from consideration in the interest of party unity.
Read Seward's take here, Goldwater's here.

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