Monday, April 16, 2007


"I seek a convention process that empowers our Republican County Committee, and allows them to make fair, even-handed decisions. I seek a process that not only produces great candidates like Freeholder Burry, Freeholder Little, Rosemary(sic.) Peters, and Andrew Lucas – but one that also heals divisions and ends factionalism."

"It is also harmful to use surrogates who seek to tear apart our party unity in the hopes of reliving their past glory days."

"The Republican County Committee voted to move beyond the divisiveness and infighting of the past two conventions. It was that atmosphere that created Little and helped to lose the first Republican freeholder seat in 20 years.
Little brought that belligerence to the freeholder board, and the Republican County Committee could see fratricide for what it was. Even the freeholders' lone Democrat has been able to serve residents without partisan bickering. This is the consequence of a rebellious few within the Republican Party who used their champion candidate to destroy rather than to build. But that was yesterday, and today is a better day."

...Chairman Adam Puharic

Let's talk about factions. It is one of Chairman Adam Puharic's favorite subjects, and a topic on which he spends a lot of time and effort discussing.
Is the Monmouth County G. O. P. factionalized? You decide. Puharic speaks of "...the divisiveness and infighting of the past two conventions. It was that atmosphere that created Little and helped to lose the first Republican freeholder seat in 20 years."
Let's take a look at what he's talking about. He speaks of the conventions of February and April 2006. Anna C. Little was elected to a vacancy on the Board of Chosen Freeholders at that convention, which was held under Title 19 of New Jersey State Law, which would preclude the use of any form of hand - picked steering committee, howsoever it is called. Thus, the vacancy is filled by a vote of the Republican County Committee, which can overrule the wishes of a county chairman, a curmudgeonly county counsel, elected officials or even county vendors. It was that atmosphere that created not only Little but Assemblymen Sean Kean and Sam Thompson, County Clerk Claire French, and Freeholder Director Bill Barham.
The candidates, and their supporters, work the County Committee and campaign for support. The object being, of course, that those Republicans who supported the losing candidates come together and support the one who was chosen. Since Little won last year, it looks like the system worked as it was supposed to. So far, no cancer here.

"We must make sure no future Republican candidate ever faces a divided base of powerbrokers and convention fanatics – angry that their candidate did not win. Many of the loud convention voices fell silent during the campaign trail, not raising money, not putting up signs, not interested in anything other than their own self-aggrandizement."
...Adam Puharic

Who is that, Adam? Who?Let's get down to Puharic's real problem: The fact that Little's initial base of support was the Two Rivers Republican Group, led by then - Red Bank G. O. P. Chairman James Giannell. Puharic never stopped looking at Giannell as a threat, and had vowed to destroy the Two Rivers group. So, Little's support was all from Two Rivers? Of course not; that group doesn't have enough votes to do it alone. Giannell, a known grass roots operative, and others reached out to people throughout the county. Little herself campaigned for the position, working successfully to convince Republicans that she was the best person for the job. Among her opponents was Howell Township Mayor Joseph DiBella, who's supporters included the County Chairman at the time, Fred Niemann. Fred and his supporters led an all - out effort to elect DiBella, which many G. O. P. observers believed exceeded the importance of the office. (More on that in a future post.) Little was elected.
So let's look at the April '06 convention. Once again, DiBella was in the race; his supporters seemed to want him for the nomination even more than Joe did himself. The Two Rivers Group had two horses in the race, Little Silver Councilman Americo J. "Rick" DeNoia for Surrogate and Manalapan Township Committeeman Andrew Lucas for Freeholder. So the same supporters lined up behind these candidates, right? Wrong. A number of the Two Rivers people who supported Little in the February Title 19 Convention supported DiBella this time around. Others who had supported Little supported Holmdel Township Committeeman Terence Wall for freeholder. So Lucas' supporters had to come from somewhere else, people who hadn't supported Little. See what's happening here when you analyze it? Individual Republicans supporting who they think is best! (Wall would go on to withdraw at the convention and ask his supporters to vote for Lucas.) And DeNoia would come up short against Rosemarie Peters for Surrogate.
Then, in June, came the Reorganization, where the vote took place for County Chairman. Again, if there were factions, one would think that the vote would reflect that of the Title 19 Convention. It didn't. In a three - way race, Puharic, running on a party unity platform, won decisively.

Now let's look at yet another issue that Adam has: Regional groups. As mentioned above, Puharic has voiced his disapproval of such groups. But that disapproval is not all - encompassing. While he has vowed to destroy the Two Rivers group, Puharic was a founding member and officer of the Bayshore Republican Conference. While running for chairman, he proudly announced that he had the support of the Southeastern Republican Caucus: "I am proud and humbled to announce that I have just received the endorsement of the 17 municipalities of the Southeastern Republican Caucus! The Southeastern Republican Caucus is comprised of the Municipal Chairs of 17 towns along the South Shore who meet and act in the best interests of the residents of Monmouth County." And another such group has appeared, The Western Monmouth Republican Conference, which recently endorsed the Puharic candidate screening process, "The Western Monmouth Republican Conference - made up of GOP representatives from the western part of the county - said last week it is endorsing the concept of the Republican candidate screening committee. "
So obviously, if a "faction" or "caucus" suits Adam's needs, they "act in the best interests of the residents of Monmouth County." Otherwise, they "seek to tear apart our party unity in the hopes of reliving their past glory days." Indeed, much of the most divisive language in our great party comes from Puharic himself.
But right now, we should rise above the poison coming from the chair; we "must not waste one word on Republicans. It is time to focus on beating democrats." We will concentrate on electing our G. O. P. team.
Adam, we will be watching. This is not going away.




The Bayshore will always have some cohesion to it. Geographically, politically, socially and governmentally close why would Republicans from neighboring towns not be? Also, their issues are similar.

Middletown: Leadership there is in the business of gov't. It's formed its alliances around economic interests involved with commerce in other towns around the county. It has an agenda. How is it not a faction?

Western Monmouth: Would not be heard and would end up playing second-fiddle to Middletown unless it rallied its neighbors together.

Two Rivers: See above. If 2 Rivers wasn't around candidates from there could be entirely ignored for many cycles. Lobbying for candidates from one's area should not be a crime.

Factions are going to be present, based on geography, economics or motivated self interest. Fighting the existence of these would probably be as useful as fighting the tides. Maybe it's just easier to declare there are none and they have been "vanquished" somehow.

The idea seems present somehow that GOP factions have to be "ovecome" or "destroyed." Why would any Republican seek to "finish off" motivated Republicans who are advocating for their area within the context of the party?

It makes no sense at all.

Joe_DiBella said...

This is Joe DiBella. Several people emailed me this post as I do not visit this or any blog. Please cease using my name and please stop making references to me. I don't appreciate it and believe it is inappropriate. I openly and honestly participated in the process and the smart-allick references to me or accusations I was some "insider" or did not want the job are inappropriate. Why not write about the irregularities at the convention (the second one) if you are going to cover this at all?

Do us all a favor and identify who you really are. Have the courage of your cinvictions to speak out under your own name.

If anyone wishes to validate that this is me, you can call me at home on 732-761-8734.