Republicans Huddle up in Atlantic City to Figure out what went Wrong

ATLANTIC CITY – How to explain an election in which you lost six seats in the Assembly and gained none in the Senate?

John DiMaio, the Republican leader in the lower house, did that Tuesday evening with a pretty good Yogi Berra-ism.

He said Republicans did not lose the election, they just didn’t win as much as they had hoped.

That’s one way of looking at things.

It was necessary, of course, to sample more direct post-election commentary from loyal Republicans privately.

With that luxury, the theme among Republicans at this week’s League of Municipalities Convention was three-fold:

The party needed better candidates, a better message, and, perhaps most importantly, more unity.

Concentrating on the last point, Republicans in New Jersey are divided between the MAGA wing and everybody else.

The event at which DiMaio spoke showed precisely that.

It was the inaugural “Murderers’ Row” cocktail party at Capriccio Restaurant at Resorts International hosted by 12 of the 21 state Republican county chairs. There’s another Yankee reference for you.

Of more relevance to the point at hand, it was also described as a gathering of Republicans who are not necessarily fans of Bill Spadea, the 101.5 radio host, a likely gubernatorial candidate, and at times, a caustic critic of the state’s Republican establishment.

Or in other words, a critic of many of those who sponsored or attended the event.

Jack Ciattarelli was there, as was Sen. Jon Bramnick. Both have been criticized by the Trump wing of the state GOP.  Go figure. Ciattarelli almost beat Phil Murphy two years ago and Bramnick easily won re-election.

That brings us to the unity, or lack thereof, of state Republicans.

If the MAGA-wing continues to push an anti-abortion, pro-Trump message, it’s hard to see Republicans winning a majority of votes in New Jersey. In case one forgets, Trump got about 41 percent of the vote in New Jersey both times he ran for president. At least he was consistent.

That logic, however, is rejected by Spadea and his followers.

A social media post by Spadea refers to recently meeting and speaking with Mike Huckabee at Trump National in Bedminster.

“Conservative Garden State Republicans are ready to start winning again,” is what Spadea posted.

How easy it is to be snide about that one.

In the run-up to last week’s election, Republican leader after Republican leader talked about picking up legislative seats.

It is true that Republicans really did not think they were going to take control of the Legislature, but they did not expect to lose seats.

Still, amid the restaurant’s Italian cuisine and open bar, about 300 attendees listened to an upbeat message from party leaders.

Mike Donohue, the Cape May County chair, welcomed the crowd and introduced the host chair, Don Purdy of Atlantic County.

Purdy said Republicans had some good wins last week, including grabbing seats in local and county governments all over New Jersey.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.

Taking apparent solace from wins in such places as Summit and Westfield, Purdy said, “We’re building something out there. We’re building our message.”

But Purdy said Republicans need everyone moving in the right direction and raising campaign cash to make sure that “like-minded-individuals” are elected.

There are, of course, elections in 2024, 2025 and 2026 for which to prepare, he said.

Anthony M. Bucco, the Senate GOP Leader, was thinking of the future as well.

“Just because this election is over doesn’t mean the fight has stopped,” he said.

“We are going to continue to move forward and we are going to continue to do great things for the Republican party.”


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9 responses to “Republicans Huddle up in Atlantic City to Figure out what went Wrong”

  1. As Dan Castellaneta might put it, Garden State Republicans will start winning more elections if they move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  2. When the choices are:

    1) The party that unapologetically sympathizes with Nazis, does not want to keep church and state separate; and gives the ultra-rich and megacorps tax breaks while everyone else struggles to pay bills;
    2) Party that is not the above.

    What did they think would happen? Even a lot of historically GOP voters are recoiling at the support of Trump and the like.

  3. One doesn’t have to support Trump to believe in making and keeping America great. It is liberal, gullible, low information voters that have become the problem.

    Liberal Democrats do not want to see a successful America. The want a star-trek inspired UN led world where America is equal to Malaysia, Pakistan or Botswana.

    Liberal Democrats are the self-centered offspring of the generation that defeated Hitler. We crushed a vicious enemy but spawned the likes of Ted Kennedy, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Menendez, AOC, and many others. Let’s not forget a reemergence from Jihad Jane Fonda campaigning for Democrats in New Jersey.

    Liberal Democrats want you to pay more taxes to be wasted on all sorts of spending projects, aiding countries that hate America, implementing CRT and sexual perversion schools or in assisting illegal aliens.

    They want you to give up your health insurance for some form of National Health Care system. Wasn’t Obamacare to be the savior of our health system?

    They want the US to give up the fight against terrorists. They have never put forth any ideas to better protect America.

    Today’s Liberal Democrats:
    – Are against Capitol Punishment, but support abortion on demand.
    – Believe business creates oppression, but the government creates prosperity.
    – Believe guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than nuclear
    weapons are in the hands of China, North Korea or Iran.
    – Believe there was no art before federal funding.
    – Believe global temperatures are less affected by cyclical climatic changes than by
    soccer moms in mini-vans.
    – Believe that the teacher who cannot teach a fourth grader to read is somehow
    qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
    – Believe classrooms should be multi-lingual.
    – Believe in open borders.
    – Believe illegal aliens should be allowed to vote.
    – Believe taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.
    – Believe self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.
    – Believe Bill Clinton, Jane Fonda and Malcolm X more important to American
    history than Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee or Thomas Edison, George Washington Abraham Lincoln, JFK.
    – Believe standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas are not.
    – Believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the constitution, but the
    ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the constitution.
    – Believe racial profiling when screening for terrorists is bad, but when used to achieve
    diversity it is good.
    – Believe parades displaying guys in drag should be constitutionally
    protected, but Christmas Trees and a manger scene should be illegal.
    – Want us to forget 9/11/01.
    – Want to treat Islamic terrorists with respect while they behead innocent civilians
    – Give the US to Mexico.
    – Believes the Koran is OK but the Bible, the 10 Commandments or the Pledge of
    Allegiance are not.
    – Believe in socialized medicine but not in a national ID card.
    – Favor abortion on demand but are against the death penalty
    – favor reverse discrimination
    – favor due process for terrorists
    – favor driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition for illegal aliens
    – favor judges who legislate from the bench
    – believe America is bad, evil.
    – will resort to name calling and insults rather than engage in beneficial debate and discussion.

    NJ is lost. America will fall as well if we continue down the road we are on.

  4. I agree with Peter Z. The state GOP needs to get organized, reach out to our constituents and communicate with our voters. Keep it simple. Flashy venues that are expensive to attend reach a small group of our citizens. Start telling people what you plan to do and why. Stop focusing on what the Democrats and show us the way to Justice, our constitutional rights and Freedom for all!

  5. When New Jersey gets rid of electronic computer voting machines, then we will have a fair election in this state. Ever since NJ incorporated the use of these computer voting machines, Democrats have won every election. This is an impossibility, especially where Jack Ciatterelli won the governorship with 100% of the vote counted in the NJ Gubernatorial election in 2021, but another 20-30,000 votes came in after midnight of Election Day, and Gov. Murphy won by 14,000 votes. Thousands were found in a car trunk in Bergen County (Hackensack) and thousands more behind voting machines at a polling place in Essex County (read: Newark). This came to about 105-110% of the vote count. Not possible.

    So, if Republicans want to win, they’d better double down and demand the computer voting systems be removed permanently, like Texas and Florida did.

  6. From a 3/18/2013 post headlined “RNC Report A Postmortem On Failed 2012 Election, “The report is pretty brutal: The Republican Party is losing elections, it says, because of a widespread perception that it doesn’t care about people.” Slow forward to New Jersey in 2023 where party decision-makers state that they see the problem as messaging, not policy positions.

  7. Thanks Ms Klansky. You are correct. Republicans hold their fundraising and the general public never really hears or understands a conservative message.

    They are silent until about one month prior to election day when they want our money.

    Unfortunately the Republican party is not truly conservative and the democrats have been taken over by radical liberals who essentially hate America, but they are good at fooling the low information voters and are relentless in silencing opposition.

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