The Yankees, the Pope, King Penna, and Morris County


Morris County’s new Republican leadership team is counting on the New York Yankees to help begin turning around the party’s financial fortunes.

The county GOP has scheduled a fundraising trip this coming Sunday to the Bronx to see the Yankees play the Boston Red Sox. The teams are currently the top two teams record wise in Major League Baseball.

Ronald DeFilippis, who was elected chair earlier this month, said the fundraiser should net at least $15,000. Twenty eight Republican party supporters and presumably Yankees fans will travel to Sunday evening’s game by bus, giving the adventure the feel of a high school field trip. Upon arrival at Yankee Stadium, they will sit in a private box. Food and beverages will be included. Cost is $350 per person and $2,500 for a sponsorship.

Money, or lack thereof, was a big issue in a just-concluded chairman’s campaign that DeFilippis won by four votes.

DeFilippis acknowledges party fundraising must improve and said the ball game will be a way for the vaunted Morris GOP to come “rolling out of the tunnel.”

This is obviously a big year for Morris Republicans.

One of the most closely watched congressional races in the country this fall will be the fight in the predominately Morris congressional District 11 to replace the departing Rodney P. Frelinghuysen. 

A Monmouth Poll released Wednesday gave Democrat Mikie Sherrill a two-point lead over Republican Jay Webber. That’s statistically a tie.

Additionally, a PAC working to get a Democratic majority in the House has launched a digital ad campaign criticizing Webber. So, this race is clearly a priority for DeFilippis.

Also of interest is the race in District 7, which includes western Morris County, between incumbent Republican Leonard Lance and Democrat Tom Malinowski.

DeFillipis said that after his victory on June 12, “We’re in the coordinating stage.”

He said he’s been meeting with  members of the state Republican Committee, GOP Senate hopeful Bob Hugin and other Republican candidates.

One of DeFilippis’ goals is better coordination among all campaigns.  

“From Bob Hugin all the way down to town council, everyone will know what’s going on,” he said.

Unfortunately for DeFilippis, problems from the chairman’s race may still be lingering.

A recent source of conversation among some party members has been a tweet from King Penna, a sometimes GOP campaign consultant and DeFilippis supporter.

Penna, a colorful sort, sent out a tweet last week in which he said the pope should “take care of the pedophiles in his own church before he starts talking about America.”  He inferred that if the pope doesn’t like the refuge and immigration policy of the Trump administration, he could house refugees in the Vatican. Penna was sure to describe himself as an “altar boy for nine years.”

Condemning the pope is probably not the best political strategy to employ in Morris County. Penna’s tweet certainly has made the rounds in county Republican circles. 

DeFilippis sajd Penna has no formal role on the committee and that he wasn’t familiar with the tweet.

He said he hasn’t spoken to Penna since the night of the convention.

“And I’m not even sure if I spoke to him then,” DeFilippis said.

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