Tag Archive: Bill Layton

Runyan raises donkeys for a tax break

The jokes just write themselves with this one as Congressional candidate to be Jon Runyan is also a farmer apparently:

Former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Runyan is getting a break on his property taxes for his lavish Mount Laurel homestead – thanks in part to his four donkeys.

Runyan, a Republican candidate for the U.S. House, paid $57,000 in taxes last year on five of his acres, which contain his home.

But on most of his property – 20 acres – he paid $468 in taxes, according to township records.

On his application for a farmland assessment in July, Runyan said he uses five acres as grazing land for his donkeys and 15 for timber, harvesting seven cords of firewood that he sold for $810.

You may remember the farmland assessment issue rearing its head in such races as Ellen Karcher v. Jen Beck and most recently Scott Garrett v. Dennis Shulman. As Babs pointed out in this Ken Bank diary, the GOP was relentless against Karcher on the issue. Up until recently Runyan wasn’t fulfilling his dream of raising donkeys, but was motivated by the potential of losing that tax break:

Runyan didn’t always have the four donkeys. Last January, the township assessor wrote to Runyan that one donkey wasn’t enough to justify the tax break.

“Although your application was approved for 2009, this acreage will not qualify in the future if you do not have enough animals to justify the five acres,” the letter said.

A year later, Runyan reported having four donkeys grazing on five acres, and kept his tax break.

Russell said Runyan had long planned to breed the donkeys but wasn’t ready to do that just yet.

I guess the potential increase in taxes provided the motivation to finally fulfill those plans. At 1.25 acres per donkey, they have more land than most NJ residents. I wonder what the big elephant in Ocean County George Gilmore thought over his morning coffee learning about Runyan and his affinity for donkeys.

Everyone thinks they have the power in the 3rd district

I never thought I’d see this headline in the Courier Post:

Camden County GOP in mix for House

As things shape up for a packed primary, everyone is jockeying to show their influence and now the Camden County Republicans are feeling their oats:

The truce between Ocean County chairman George Gilmore and Burlington County chairman William Layton seemed headed south in December, when Layton reiterated his support for NFL player Jon Runyan’s candidacy. But the three chairmen, along with state party head Jay Webber, sat down shortly before the New Year in an attempt to calm the storm.

The plan, Camden County chairman Rick DeMichele said in an interview on Wednesday, involves Camden County Republicans holding off on an endorsement until the Ocean and Burlington parties name their pick.

“I discussed with them my desire to be the last county party to endorse,” DeMichele said. “If they can’t come to a consensus, then wherever Camden goes gives that candidate a clear advantage.”

So his 15% will decide he says, while 42% of the district is in Burlington County and 43% in Ocean. And about that double secret meeting:

None of the chairmen would divulge details of what was said in their meeting, however. Asked if his organization would switch its endorsement if Camden and Burlington went the other way, Gilmore would not commit.

“We’ll cross all those bridges when we come to them,” he said.

Oh boy do I hope they cross that bridge. This is starting to be some real fun. Camden County has never felt the power to really play and even if they don’t have it, I’m enjoying them trying to flex their muscles. If the party chair power struggle wasn’t enough, enter new candidate to the field Joe Rullo:

While Runyan and the party chairs grab local headlines, one prospective candidate is sitting in frustration. Joseph R. Rullo isn’t persuaded by assurances that all potential challengers will get a fair hearing. He’s already up with a campaign Web site — rullo4congress2010.com — and has announced a Feb. 18 fundraiser.

“He’s counted me out,” said Rullo, a 40-year-old solar energy consultant. “It hurt my feelings.”

Hurt feelings? Uh ok. This is politics and bare knuckle with who he’s playing. He needs to get a thicker skin if he’s upset that they don’t want him to take their power. Layton for his part could care less what anyone else says. He’s had enough Runyan Kool Aid to last the cycle:

“The excitement is overwhelming, quite frankly,” Layton said, describing voter reaction to Runyan’s candidacy.

Layton is like one of those pull string dolls. Pull string… Jon Runyan is the greatest.  Pull string… Jon Runyan is exciting. Pull string… Everyone loves Jon Runyan.

My guess, George Gilmore is not amused and that must’ve been a fun meeting in December when they all sat down to make public peace in private.

Still another hat in the 3rd district ring

If you thought things were shaping up to be fun in the 3rd Congressional District GOP pending primary, they just got a little more crowded yesterday according to the Atlantic City Press:

A former Democratic freeholder candidate and recent Republican campaign organizer is adding his name to the growing list of Republicans running for the party’s nomination in the 3rd Congressional District race.

Joseph Rullo, 40, of Toms River, said he is going through the process to be endorsed by the Ocean County Republican Organization, but said he would still run in the primary even if not backed by the party.

Here is some more on Rullo including what he’s already done for his campaign:

Rullo owns Today’s Solar Energy in Toms River and worked on Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly’s 2008 primary campaign for congress.  He has already opened a campaign headquarters, filed with the Federal Election Commission, and started a Web site that has, along with his bio and campaign platforms, pictures of his two cats.  

Of course this news was not welcome to Bill Layton, the chairman in Burlington County and head cheerleader for Jon Runyan:

Burlington County Republican Chairman William Layton said he had not heard of Rullo or his candidacy until contacted  Monday by The Press of Atlantic City.

Layton said he wished Rullo luck, but thought the keys to winning the upcoming election would be name recognition, fundraising ability and a personal story to contrast with Democratic Rep. John Adler.

Translation: If you’re not Jon Runyan and you’re not bringing a bank, you need not apply. And while George Gilmore got notice of Rullo’s effort, it seems he was caught off guard by the stance the candidate has already taken on his run:

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore said Rullo had reached out to him saying Rullo was interested in running but not that he would be running in the primary regardless of the county’s selection process results.

Gilmore said county organizations are put in place for the purpose of deciding what is best for the party as a whole, and that a contested primary would only weaken its chances in the general election.

“If we get in a primary fight, regardless of where candidates are coming from, it’s not a good thing for keeping the unity of the party and focusing our attention on Mr. Adler and his record,” he said.

Translation: I want to pick my own candidate through my organization and if you don’t listen choosing to run anyway, it screws us all. This one is shaping up to be good.  So far candidates saying they plan to run include Rullo, Jon Runyan, Mo Hill and Justin Murphy. Who else wants to join the party?

Connors says he won’t attempt to challenge Adler

George Gilmore’s first choice to challenge Jon Runyan in a primary and John Adler in the general is out, according to a statement he released yesterday:

“The support and encouragement that I have received from friends, constituents and political leaders has been extremely flattering and very much appreciated; however, I must convey in the most definite terms, that I am not a candidate for Congress, nor will I seek my party’s nomination for that office,” Connors said in a press release.

That doesn’t mean the GOP is avoiding a primary though as Mo Hill, the Councilman from Toms River in Ocean County, Jon Runyan with the full support of Burlington County and Justin Murphy all have said they intend to run. The name of former lottery director Virginia Haines has also been mentioned as potentially having interest in the seat.

APP on potential Adler/Runyan matchup

The Asbury Park Press is hoping for a GOP primary in the 3rd Congrssional District because like we’ve said before, it would be a reporters dream. It seems like they’re trying to give a guide for how the GOP can beat Adler and they start with a competitive primary. But should Runyan be the candidate to challenge Adler for the seat, the APP offers this take:

In an arm-wrestling match against Adler – who is about half his size – he would do well. In debates with Adler, he could get sliced and diced.

I worry when expectations are set that low for anyone. I also don’t know how much debates really matter. Before anyone get to any slicing and dicing, they need to get George Gilmore to sign off on a candidacy.  The overall premise of their post is that an open primary would be better without the choosing of Gilmore and Layton. I’m guess they’re just saying that and know there isn’t a chance that would actually happen. That’s like asking Kobayashi to stop eating hot dogs.

An abortion litmus test, unless they can self fund

It’s amazing to watch the Republicans twist and turn sometimes in order to get around the stands they take on issues. For the Burlington County GOP, it appears that abortion is only a litmus test when the candidate doesn’t have alot of money:

In case Ocean County does not field a candidate and Runyan becomes the establishment-backed favorite, Murphy thinks being pro-choice will bring the former Eagles tackle down.

“If the scenario unfolds where Jon Runyan faces Justin Murphy for the nomination, I can guarantee you I will be the nominee,” said Murphy.  “I’m not trying to be a trash talker on that. I can tell you why in one word: abortion.  If there is a choice between one pro-choice candidate and one pro-life candidate in this election, the base of the party will support me.”

Burlington County GOP Chairman Bill Layton argued that the abortion issue won’t be a deal breaker with Republican primary voters.

The conservatives aren’t going to like that answer. We’re going to have to remember that abortion isn’t a deal breaker on the right the next time they bring back the litmus test when the candidate isn’t bringing a brinks truck to the campaign. They’ll use life to incite and then try to selectively claim it’s a non issue when the candidate can pay for a few extra mailers. Those are some principles. Somewhere George Gilmore is throwing things right now as he continues to hear Layton make declarations about what the party does and doesn’t need.

It’s all about the money for Layton

It’s becoming clearer by the day that Burlington County GOP chairman Bill Layton and his boss Glenn Paulsen don’t really care where Jon Runyan stands on the issues, they’re just seeing dollar signs:

“Adler’s been raising money for a year. That’s why Jon Runyan is a game changer for us. He has the ability to raise just as much money as John Adler,” Layton said. “I clearly think that out of all the candidates, Jon Runyan is our best chance to take back the 3rd District.”

You see it doesn’t matter where Runyan stands on anything as long as he has the money to get the GOP back the power they had and lost. While Layton is clearly looking for a handout, George Gilmore doesn’t seem intimidated by the fundraising challenge that Adler presents without a self funding candidate. This is going to be a reporters dream with Layton and Gilmore not wanting the other to get the last word.  I’m amazed someone higher up in the Republican party hasn’t stepped up to tell them keep their fights outside of the media. It really seems like the up front aggressive approach taken by Layton and Runyan is making Gilmore want to fight more, just out of protecting his reputation. Not that I mind. Let them spend all their money fighting about money.

Plenty of time to avoid a primary… as long as you agree with me

Ocean County GOP Chair George Gilmore must be getting madder with each passing moment. I wrote about the pending civil war that is ready to break out over who will challenge John Adler the other day. Burlington County GOP Chair Bill Layton just can’t help himself and when it’s not Jon Runyan talking directly, Layton is making sure no story goes without a quote:

Layton, for his part, acknowledged that he supports Jon Runyan, but said there remains plenty of time to avoid a primary.

“To me it remains the same. Jon Runyan is the best candidate.  So at some point we need to convince others of that, and that process is still taking place,” he said.  “If Jon Runyan was an Ocean County guy, I’d be with Jon Runyan.  Jon Runyan is the best candidate for the race.  It’s about winning back the seat, not whether the guy is from Burlington, Ocean or Camden.”

Gilmore said that he did not read any of Runyan’s interviews and would wait until he has to comment.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when Gilmore finally reads the interviews. This has the real potential to be a fun one to watch. It sounds like Layton is telling Gilmore that there is plenty of time to avoid a primary as long as he agrees Runyan is the man. I don’t think George Gilmore is used to that type of ultimatum.

Is the GOP headed for a primary in NJ-3?

As Jon Runyan plays the I’m running, no I’m exploring game on whether he will mount a campaign for Congress, other potential candidates aren’t waiting for his answer:

Toms River Township Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill, a retired Navy rear admiral and dentist, said he will run for Congress even if party leaders from the district’s three counties – Ocean, Burlington and Camden – are not unified.

“If I got the support of the Ocean County organization, then yes, I would move forward,” Hill said Friday.

Hill has already met with the chairmen in Burlington, Camden and Ocean Counties as has Runyan. While Republicans have said they want to avoid a primary this time around, Hill says if he gets the support of one county party he will run. For his part, Ocean County GOP boss George Gilmore has his own list of potentials:

Gilmore has his own short list of candidates, including state Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Lacey Twp), Toms River Councilman Moe Hill and former State Lottery Commissioner Virginia “Ginny Haines.”  Gilmore said there are also a couple other potential candidates who do not want their names floated publicly yet.  

“I’m not simply going to say ‘Oh yes, Jon Runyan is our guy.’  There are a lot of good people out there, including Moe Hill, Chris Connors and Ginny Haines. It doesn’t matter how many statements Jon Runyan puts out, it’s going to be the same answer: we have a process and we’re going to go through it.”

We’ll see whether the GOP is able to avoid a competitive primary this time around like they were unable to do in their last shot at the seat.

“You’ll Have to Talk to Glenn About That”: Chris Myers and The Politics of Patronage in BurlCo

A few months ago, Blue Jersey’s Jason Springer detailed Republican congressional candidate Chris Myers’ selective amnesia about GOP corruption in Burlington County. It was when Myers was pressed by a reporter about his campaign contributions from de facto BurlCo GOP boss Glenn Paulsen and Garfield DeMarco, former BurlCo Bridge Commission boss, that he rather incredulously said “You’ll have to talk to Glenn about that.” Besides being stunned by Myers’ refusal to acknowledge corruption in his own party – I’ve gotten used to Myers demurring from answering tough questions in public – I was struck at how one of the state’s most corrupt party bosses was on a first name basis with a congressional candidate.