The Patti Page Play in the Morris County GOP Fight for the Chairmanship

Robert Zwigard has made official what all active Morris County Republicans already know – he’s running for county chairman.

In a recent release, Zwigard pledged more use of social media and digital analytics in campaigning and more transparency among the county committee and its activities. He also wants to hire a full-time staff at county headquarters and to hold regular “campaign schools” for Republican candidates.

All of this is to be done by adhering to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment of criticizing Democrats, not fellow Republicans.

That’s an ambitious program to be sure.


The other candidate in a race to be decided at a June convention is Ronald DeFilippis, who has been party finance chair since last summer.

That’s fitting because money is what this intra-party tussle seems to be all about.

From a broad perspective, this is an odd occurrence. Cash never has been a problem for the dominant party in one of the state’s most affluent counties.

Times have changed.

Recent filings show that the county GOP committee has just under 14 grand in the bank.

But that’s not the whole story.

The DeFilippis camp says that under his watch, the committee actually has raised more than $100,000 on behalf of Republican candidates.

Figures of the past aside, Zwigard insists that party fundraising needs to increase in a county where Democrats are now seen as more competitive than they have been recently.

The outgoing chair is Patti Page, who assumed the position when long-time GOP chairman John Sette resigned. Page, who has not had much of a public presence, surfaced last week with a statement that offered a “thank you” to DeFilippis for raising $113,000 to “fund the campaigns, pay our bills and put us on good footing going forward.”

That kind of sounds like an endorsement, no?

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