Essex County GOP Chairman Al Barlas stared across county lines today at the conflagration in LD26 and issued a declaration.
“If the incumbents don’t stick together and run together then I cannot keep Essex together,” said the veteran chairman. “Morris creates this atmosphere of chaos every March or April. I try to keep order in this district, but if the guys in Morris are all going to try to kill each other, it is not not my job to protect them.
“I’ve been called a party boss and a bully for maintaining order over here, but I don’t encourage intra-party battles, and I make no apologies for that,” the chairman added. “If there are going to be four or five candidates for two offices, I would be derelict in my duties not to entertain a legitimate candidate out of Essex county. I hope [Assemblyman Jay] Webber and [Assemblywoman Betty Lou] DeCroce run together.”
But if they don’t, Barlas stressed, he will not discourage a Republican candidate from Essex from getting in on the primary free-for-all.