*At last night’s State GOP committee meeting, Steinhardt was tomahawked in favor of Mike Lavery. Insider NJ broke the news last night and you can read about it here.
Warren County GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt will succeed Sam Raia as chair of the State GOP, the choice of Republican nominee for Governor Kim Guadagno.
A veteran GOP leader, Steinhardt has led the Warren Republican Party for over a decade.
He quietly backed Guadagno for governor, breaking from other young buck chairs, among them Burlington Republican Chairman Bill Layton, Somerset GOP Chairman Al Gaburo and Al Barlas of Essex, all of whom backed Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16).
The three anti-Ocean GOP Chairman George Gilmore faction like Steinhardt, and so his choice by Guadagno, the GOP nominee for governor,represents an olive leaf to the chairs who stood with the conquered Ciattarelli.
InsiderNJ wrote about that earlier today here.
An attorney, Steinhardt is a partner in the politically connected firm of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt and Fader. His name was kicked around earlier this year as a possible successor to Paul Fishman in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“My vision for the party is to try to reach out to every section of the state, no matter which psrt of the state you’re from, and to do the best I can,” Steinhardt told InsiderNJ. “My first challenge is going to be trying to get everyone on the same page. So far the response from other chairs has been very positive. I have 13 years as a chair and rapport with people around the state. My first goal is to treach out to everybody.”
How does he see Guadagno v. Phil Murphy, the former ambassador to Germany who worked over two decades at Goldman Sachs?
“Look, to me elections are about contrast,’ Steinhardt said. “I don’t think you could ask for two more different candidates. They have two very different messages, and at the end of the day, the lieutenant governor’s message is going to resonate with more voters. I was happy to get on board with her more than a year ago. I think people are going to see her background and experiences as more aligned with their own. It’s hard for most people to relate with a multi-millionaire. I’m looking forward to helping her anyway I can.”
Coming from a small county, population 100,000, Steinhardt told InsiderNJ that his plan is continue serving as the GOP chair of Warren.
Multiple GOP sources in the lead up to Guadagno making her choice suspected Hudson County GOP Chairman Jose Arango – a staunch Gilmore ally – as the obvious pick. But by selecting Steinhardt, Guadagno could claim to blunt that wing of the party that still smarted over the primary and its final outcome. In the words of one source still irritated by some of the cycle’s collisions with Arango, “the ‘no way Jose’ press release was ready to go.”
“He is a good choice,” Arango said. “At the end of the day it is the Lt Governor’s choice and we have to work toward November.”
As one of those chairs who aggressively bucked Gilmore and the cadre of chairs around Guadagno’s candidacy in the primary, Barlas praised Steinhardt as a great choice.
“This is the single best decision the LG has made since announcing her candidacy,” the Essex chairman said. “Doug is one of the most honorable and genuine people I know. His word is beyond reproach. Those characteristics alone get him my unwavering support. Beyond that, Doug understands that every county is different and our needs can’t be met with a one size fits all approach. I can’t wait for Doug to lead our party because I know he will spend every day working to grow our party with the same zeal he does everything else. The future is very bright with Doug leading the way.”
Steinhardt succeeds in Raia a chair who was largely invisible during a period of time defined almost exclusively by the larger-than-life Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose suck all oxygen from the room style made the chair prior to Raia, Assemblyman Jay Webber – an impossible fit.