These are heady times for Laura Ali.
The chair of the Morris County Republican Committee just won a key internal battle over creating a “county line.” And in so doing, she helped the party move away from a decades-long tradition of “open primaries.”
“We had a warrior tribe of people helping us all over the county,” Ali said tonight in a Facebook Live event sponsored by the group, NJ Women for Trump.
Still, the battle wasn’t easy.
There was spirited opposition, litigation and as Ali said, many daggers (metaphorically speaking) hurled in her direction. But in the end, the county committee backed the change last Saturday by a wide margin.
Now that the fight is over, an upbeat Ali spoke of the change as something that’s going to make Morris more important statewide in GOP circles.
She said that more than once Republican leaders from around the state told her that Morris was irrelevant. That was because the party was never unified behind a single primary candidate.
Things are now going to change, she predicted.
“This makes us the county to watch,” she said. “We will be the game changer in the race for governor.”
The point here is candidates for statewide office will now see Morris, which has a large supply of GOP voters, as a coveted prize. And from now on, all roads will run through the county committee, which will endorse primary candidates for the first time. This, logically, gives more influence and power to the committee, which was why the change was made.
That’s the good news.
The sobering news, as Ali admitted, is that Morris Republicans are as divided as Republicans across the country.
Talking about her phone calls, emails and social media messages, Ali said it seems as if half the people are angry the party embraced Donald Trump and the other half are angry it didn’t do enough to support him after the election.
This is a very difficult chasm to bridge.
Looking ahead to the 2021 elections more generally, Ali said she wants to do three things – devise a winning strategy, attract smart people, or as she says, “brain power,” and similarly attract people with “grit.”
But there’s still that divide.
In suggesting ways for people of varying views to come together, Ali offered advice that would be appropriate anywhere in the country.
“We have to get everybody to stop being so angry,” she said.