March Madness: a Case of GOP Convention Timing

As Kim Guadagano and Jack Ciattarelli jockey for establishment attention, insiders could not help but notice the timing of the first two big conventions of the coming cycle in this competitive Republican Primary year.

The Somerset GOP scheduled its convention on March 7th, a day before the scheduled Ocean convention on March 8th.

Republican sources anticipate that Somerset Republicans, led by Chairman Al Gaburo, will endorse their home county candidate, Assemblyman Ciattarelli of Somerset, thereby giving him the perfect way to kick off the convention round of the primary: with a win.

Sources say Gaburo is seeking every edge for his charge, who is perceived by most Republicans to be the underdog in a Republican match-up with Guadagano. The lieutenant governor’s years of rubber chicken circuit beast mode politicking with the rank and file while Gov. Chris Christie barnstormed New Hampshire – puts her on good footing in a primary.

Guadagno presumably has the backing of the Ocean Republicans, led by powerful veteran Chairman George Gilmore. Allies of Gilmore worried about the optics of giving Ciattarelli that day-long head start, and a few people lobbied for a date change, arguing that by rescheduling the convention ahead of Somerset, Guadagno could gain an edge.

But Gilmore stood firm on the March 8th date, a source told InsiderNJ, making the case that wahetever the optics, the organizational challenges remain the same.

Scrappy Somerset County GOP Chairman Al Gaburo, left, scheduled an early primary and undercut Ocean optics.


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