Senator Doherty Addresses the GOP Divide in the Aftermath of Kean and Bateman Announcements

State Senator Kip Bateman called for a legislative investigation into the questionable last-minute bill changes to the Economic Opportunity Act allegedly made by an unregistered lobbyist with ties to South Jersey Democratic Party Power Broker George Norcross III.

Republicans seem very much divided these days between Trump loyalists and so-called Never Trumpers – a gulf that seems destined to widen with Trump out of office.

This chasm is very much national in scope – think Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Green – but New Jersey is not immune.

We saw that a few weeks ago when Doug Steinhardt began a now-abandoned gubernatorial run by expressing undying devotion to Trump.

On the other end of things, Jon Bramnick, the GOP leader in the Assembly, passed on a run for governor, saying, in effect, that a Republican centrist can’t win a statewide GOP primary these days. Bramnick has been critical of Trump. (Just today, Bramnick announced a run for the state Senate).

In the midst of this, there was a Facebook Live event Monday night with Republican state Sen. Mike Doherty of Warren County sponsored by New Jersey Women for Trump. Doherty, a veteran legislator, long has been a candid spokesperson for New Jersey conservatives and more recently, Doanld Trump’s campaign. Doherty endorsed Trump for president back in 2015 – months before the Trump movement began.

But now it’s 2021 and how do Republicans come together? This seems especially critical here in New Jersey where even in the best of times, Democrats hold a sizable registration advantage.

Doherty was not all that encouraging.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t know that we’re coming together,”  Doherty admitted.

But one thing Doherty did was demonstrate the divide.

He said that the Republican establishment “wants to turn the page and bury the fact” Trump was elected in the first place.

There you have it – a major dilemma for New Jersey Republicans. Doherty talked about Trump’s passionate supporters, mentioning overflow crowds at rallies. But passion aside, Trump lost badly two times in New Jersey and the Republicans lost three House seats while Trump was president.  That explains, does it not, why some may want to “turn the page?”

Getting around to an election truism, Doherty noted the “conservatives win primaries,” but that the party’s “Eastern Establishment” still runs things.

I wonder how many people listening to that thought they had entered a time lapse. The “Eastern Establishment” dates back to the days of Richard Nixon. With the national base of the Republican party these days in the south and midwest, it’s hard to see the “Eastern Establishment” running anything.

Acknowledging that it’s hard to see where New Jersey Republicans are going, Doherty was on more solid ground when he said a strong party position on issues might unify the party.

He thinks Republicans should take a strong stand against what he called the “censorship” of conservative views by social media companies. He said he also would like to see Republicans push back harder against state COVID regulations.

Then there’s education, or rather school aid.

The state’s school aid formula has been a mess for years, if not decades. Unfortunately, the problem seems beyond partisanship as it has continued whether a Republican or a Democrat is governor. For a while. Doherty travelled the state arguing for change. He said he was often well-received even in Democratic areas.

Whether a Republican gubernatorial candidate can enthuse average people by talking about revising how school aid is doled out is debatable, but it’s probably worth a try.

But when Doherty looked ahead to this November when all 120 legislative seats are up, he also articulated a more basic goal.

That’s retaining GOP Senate seats being vacated by Kip Bateman and Tom Kean Jr.

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One response to “Senator Doherty Addresses the GOP Divide in the Aftermath of Kean and Bateman Announcements”

  1. Mike “Mountain Man” Doherty is still living in a cave in Warren County, still clueless about his own state, still pretending he’s “often well-received even in Democratic areas.” Not.

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