Layton Declines Invitation to GOP Chairs’ Steakhouse Pow-wow

Arango backs Meissner for U.S. Senate.
Bill Layton wants out of the GOP chairs as the fraternity of leaders is currently constituted.
The Burlington County Republican Organization chairman answered an emailed entreaty for his and other chairs’ attendance at the next event by Stephanie Fila, executive director of the Ocean County GOP, with word that he does not care to attend.
“I will not be participating anymore,’ Layton wrote to Fila. “This year we had agreed to have a chairs meeting and meet [with] all of the candidates for Governor. It never happened. I am not quite sure what this group does or accomplishes. When the group begins to work to promote the interests of all Republicans and not just a few then I will reconsider. Please forward this to the chairs.”
Fila had wanted confirmation for the chairs’ meeting on Thursday, March 30th at a Woodbridge steakhouse, and reminded the chairs of dues payments of $1,000 apiece.

A GOP source said Layton and others were irritated when GOP Chair of the Chairs Jose Arango agreed, then backed down – according to the source’s recollection – from having the meeting with the governors’ candidates. The failure to meet with all the gubernatorial candidates gave an unfair advantage to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, by their reckoning, who has the support of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore and Arango.

Layton has scheduled his convention for this evening where he and his allies are expected to back Guadagno alternative Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli for governor.

Contacted for comment, Arango said, “Bill Layton is a good chairman. I don’t remember when he participated in one of our meetings. He’s a busy person, not surprised – this tendency to get emotional. This behavior just helps the Democratic Party, but I like him as a friend and am looking forward to work with him and Mayor Brown from Evesham Township to elect a Republican governor in November, no matter who wins the nomination.”

Layton shot back, “It had nothing to do with Guadagno. This has to do with all of us sitting down in a room and hearing from all the candidates and to see if we could find common ground. Instead of unifying the party, this organization went in the opposite direction and created the fractured primary we now have.”

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