The Roots of the Palatucci-Sette Rivalry

John Sette’s ties to Chris Christie go back 25 years or so, but the former governor has a longer and closer


association with Bill Palatucci.

And so when Christie decided to pick one of the two, he went with Palatucci. The competition is for a seat on the National Republican Committee. Palatucci has it now.

Palatucci is a long-time advisor to Christie, and Sette was chair of the Morris County Republican Committee during Christie’s gubernatorial tenure. Now they’re running against each other.

The election is June 23 and voting will be done by the 42 members – two from each county – of the New Jersey Republican Committee.

As you can see, this is an election for the ultra-insiders, but the personalities are  intriguing.

In a Monday letter to New Jersey state committee members and the 21 county chairs, Christie says the following:

“And as you know, the trust and faith Mary Pat and I have in Bill is even more personal. Bill was a big part of our underdog win for governor over Governor Jon Corzine in 2009. When I ran for reelection in 2013, I asked Bill to serve as the Chairman of that historic campaign. He was my General Counsel when I ran for President in 2016, and also served as General Counsel when I chaired the Trump for America Transition Committee.



The former governor added that, “Taken together, Bill has made contributions to our state and national party which are hard to match.”

Christie said there is no reason to vote for anyone else.

Sette seemed a bit unruffled by it all, noting that Christie always supported him when he was Morris County chair.

“I was behind him when he ran for freeholder,” Sette said. That was way back in 1994.

Sette has said the tipping point in his challenge came a few months ago when Palatucci complained about a Sette contribution to Rosemary Becchi, who was then a congressional candidate in CD-7. The candidate being backed by the GOP establishment at the time was Tom Kean Jr.

Sette said Palatucci’s attempted bullying was the “last straw,” and prompted him to run himself.

As it turned out, Becchi opted to run in CD-11, clearing the field in CD-7 for Kean. But the damage so to speak had been done.

As for Christie’s endorsement of Palatucci, Sette looked on the bright side, saying that the former governor didn’t say “anything nasty about me.”

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