This was quite a night for Laura Ali.
The chair of the Morris County Republican Committee pushed through a “county line” two years ago and Tuesday night, all endorsed candidates in competitive primaries won.
That seems like a foregone conclusion, but not in this case.
The endorsed candidates were challenged by a slate of three legislative candidates in LD-26 and one candidate seeking the only county commissioner nod on the ballot.
And they had support – from John Sette, a former county chair, and Bill Spadea, a 101.5 radio host and likely Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2025.
“We ran the table,” Ali told a jubilant crowd at Republican headquarters in Parsippany. “This victory belongs to all of you.”
With that, the winning candidates – state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, Assemblymen Jay Webber and Brian Bergen and Commissioner Tayfun Selen – took turns speaking.
Pennacchio was still smarting from a barrage of attacks from opponent Tom Mastrangelo.
“The way you beat lies and distortions is with the truth,” he said, adding, “We learned a lesson and the lesson is, there’s only one voice that speaks for Morris County Republicans and that is MCRC.”
Webber concurred, saying, “The line performed incredibly well and we all should be proud of that.”
But as things went on, all was not sweetness and light.
Bergen said that come Wednesday, there are some people whose influence and status in the Republican party should come to an end.
He was talking about Spadea.
In fact, Bergen said he will do all that he can to prevent the radio host from becoming governor. A cynic might say that won’t be much of a lift. But we still have a long way to go.
Also on hand was state Sen. Jon Bramnick from neighboring Union County.
He said the results show that Republicans cross Ali at the peril.
He also took a swipe at Spadea, or shall we say, “some loudmouth on the radio,” noting that some people work while others just talk.
Sure, this may have been overkill, but it was a long and bitter campaign.
And this group wanted to celebrate.