Who’s Up and Who’s Down: Week of the Ocean and Somerset Conventions


A great New Jerseyan died on Wednesday.

Lou Duva, the Hall of Fame boxing trainer who worked Evander Holyfield’s corner when Holyfield beat Buster Douglas for the heavyweight championship of the world, and a regular fixture at former state Senator John Girgenti’s beefsteak dinners at the Brownstone, went to the great squared circle in the sky at the age of 94.

We will miss him, but mostly we thank him, for embodying the hardness, toughness, determination, winning spirit and – deep down – kindness that we all love about New Jersey at its very best.

Lou Duva, may you rest in peace.


Kim Guadagno

The lieutenant governor picked up the support of three county party organizations: Warren, Passaic and Ocean. If the GOP knew coming into this week that her chief rival, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, would get his home county of Somerset and the LG was all but guaranteed Ocean, Guadagno’s key victory proved to be Passaic. That was the toss-up contest at the start of Wednesday evening, and the GOP front-runner for governor’s 14-8 executive committee win gave her the chance to show off the range of her statewide support.

Kristin Corrado

In pursuit of the GOP nomination for state senate in LD40, the Passaic County Clerk won decisively in her home county (18 out of 22 executive committee votes) over arch-rival Paul DiGaetano.

Kevin Rooney and Chris DePhillips

Corrado’s two running mates pulled down victories in LD40, and look strong and sure-footed heading into the Bergen convention.

Peter Murphy

Excoriated for his ex-con status, the former chairman of the Passaic County Republican Party from Totowa, who helped craft the terrain that put Corrado in the clerk’s chair, flexed his muscles with the clerk’s LD40 win.

Al Gaburo

Dedicated to putting Ciattarelli in a good position for a statewide run for governor, the Somerset County GOP chairman helped engineer an impressive 170-16 countywide convention win for the statewide-office seeking assemblyman from Hillsborough.

John McCann

The Bergen County sheriff’s Office attorney withstood a barrage of late fire from incumbent state Senator Gerry Cardinale to win the backing of the Passaic County Republican Organization in LD39.

Hank Lyon

Running for an LD26 assembly seat, the young freeholder from Morris County forced Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce to a run-off for the Republican line in Passaic County as a consequence of his 9-9 tie.

Tom MacArthur

The CD3 congressman known as T-Mac led a mostly civil and rational discussion at the local firehouse in Waretown against the backdrop of Congressional Republicans repealing Obamacare and President Donald J. Trump’s madcap tweets.

Jonathan Dienst

The NBC News investigative reporter put together the initial news broadcast about Torres’ alleged scheme (see below), which caught the attention of law enforcement authorities.


George Gilmore

On the one hand it was a great week for the chairman of the Ocean County Republican Committee, as he demonstrated overwhelming support for Guadagno in his South Jersey Republican stronghold. But he also had to walk through headlines about subpoenas as law enforcement authorities scrutinize his law firm’s public work.

Nellie Pou

Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey’ Torres’ meltdown in Silk City could splash on the business administrator, a longtime Torres loyalist who also serves as the LD35 state senator.

Jack Ciattarelli

The assemblyman won the line in his home county, and continues to impress insiders with his knowledge base, affability, work ethic and tenacity. But losing Passaic to Guadagno hurt, as it showed what Ocean Chair Gilmore noted as the LG’s years’ worth of relationship-building in all corners of the state.

John Traier

The Passaic County GOP’s critics want him gone based on Corrado’s victory over DiGaetano. After having backed re-empowering Murphy, Traier decided against empowering Murphy’s ward Corrado, and supported DiGaetano for the senate seat. Those pretzel-like moves should be sufficient grounds to toss him, seethe the chairman’s political rivals. But Traier was smart enough to publicly endorse Guadagno prior to this week’s convention, cushioning the blow of what turned out to be a Digaetano loss with the LG’s win.


Jose “Joey” Torres

Oh, God. Where does one look? It’s just so horrible. What makes it worse is that it was inevitable. The six-count indictment against the mayor of Paterson unsealed Tuesday include charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and tampering with public records. City workers Joseph Mania, 51; Timothy Hanlon, 30; and Imad Elmowaswes, 52, also stand accused.

Paul DiGaetano

Despite trying to turn a political relationship with fellow Chairman Traier into an advantage, and hoping for a comeback in Ld40, the former assembly minority leader this week failed to secure the Passaic county GOP line.

Joe Bubba and Norm Robertson

DiGaetano’s running mates also fell in Passaic, prompting Essex County GOP Chairman Al Barlas to slap away at the aging ticket. “This vote shows that the flux capacitor in the Delorean didn’t work and Paul, Norm and Bubba couldn’t travel back in time,” Barlas said.

David Samson

Some might argue that he should be on the winner’s list, after getting cracked across the wrists like a kid in Catholic grade school rather than slung in the slammer for using his public influence as Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chairman to extract the private perk of his own United airline flight path to South Carolina, where the former AG has a home. But ok, so he has to sit in his home as opposed to a jail cell. His name is still mud.

Gerry Cardinale

The intellectually superior senator from Bergen County took a rare loss this week, when attorney McCann out-dueled him for the line in Passaic County. The challenger told InsiderNJ that what happened in  Passaic won’t stay in Passaic, but as far as Cardinale is concerned, Passaic is not Bergen. Still, Bergen is volatile enough right now to keep the veteran senator on his toes.

Betty Lou DeCroce

A Passaic county tie with Freeholder Hank Lyon indicates that her race for reelection is going to be as hard and challenging as many insiders suspected, additionally saddled by her aye vote for the gas tax hike as part of a deal to pay for the replenishment of the state Transportation Trust Fund.


The great Silk City watches another one of its mayors get charged with corruption.

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