Tag Archive: mo hill

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?

Just like sports, only politics

While Jon Runyan winds down his playing career in San Diego, he’s trying to get a crash course on politics and campaiging. He has decided that his new career path could be just like the prior one:

Runyan, meanwhile, says he’ll ramp up his campaign efforts after the Chargers’ season is done. He said he hopes he can concentrate on football until the Super Bowl in February.

He said he has learned already that pro sports and politics have one big thing in common: “Dealing with the scrutiny of everybody watching your every move all the time.”

I’m sure there are plenty more similarities we could find if we looked hard enough. He may be surprised to know that they go to take you out at the knees in politics too.

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.

Civil War brewing for the GOP shot in the 3rd Congressional District

After going back and forth, Jon Runyan now says he’s in for 2010 and is ready to be the GOP candidate for Congress against John Adler:

“I’m definitely 100 percent in this race,” the Mount Laurel resident said from San Diego, where he plays for the NFL’s Chargers.

That approach and attitude s making Ocean County GOP Boss George Gilmore none to pleased:

“If he wants to announce that he’s running and is the candidate no matter what then he is sadly mistaken,” said George Gilmore, chairman of the Ocean County Republican Organization. “I expressed the fact that we were all going to try to take a deep breath and allow time to pass and try to reach a consensus on a candidate. To the extent that anyone disrupts that, I’m disappointed.”

He continued to express his displeasure about Runyan’s approach:

“There are three counties which award the line for the primary, and I would expect that anyone seeking to run to achieve a nomination from all three counties would be doing so in a manner that would try to bring all three counties together. So I’m a little disheartened about his comments,” Gilmore said.

And there are signals that Gilmore may stilll have a candidate of his own in mind even though Senator Connors has said he does not plan to run:

While Gilmore is unhappy that Runyan is making the media rounds before getting the county chairs’ nod, Toms River Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill has been vocal about his intent to run.

“If it comes down to a primary and I’m supported by two of the county chairmen, that’s something to be determined,” he said of the prospect of an intraparty battle. “Having the support of two out of three counties is a different ballgame than one out of three.”

“Anyone who underestimates Mo Hill and his abilities is making a major mistake,” Gilmore said. “He presents himself very well, he knows the issues inside and out, and his military background is a plus. There’s a very large veterans population in Ocean County.”

And then there was this exchange from the county chairs, which unfortunately was buried deep at the end of the online article on page 5:

“I think Jon Runyan’s getting poor political advice about how to get the counties’ support,” said Gilmore, in a clear shot across the bow at Layton and Russell.

“We thought it was important for the public to hear from Jon directly,” said Russell, who also managed Chris Myers’ campaign. “I don’t see anything wrong about him communicating to the public how he feels about the issues, like heatlh care and taxes.”

“I had thought we were all going to work together to achieve common ground. Apparently there are some people who feel it’s either their candidate or no candidate,” Gilmore fumed. “Though I don’t want a primary, I’m not afraid of a primary.”

Don’t forget Justin Murphy who also ran in 2008 out of Burlington County. Primaries are not always a bad thing, but this doesn’t seem to be about the issues. We don’t even know where Runyan stands on many of the issues. This seems to be about who has the power for the Republicans. If this keeps going in the direction it’s moving, you can just get your popcorn ready for NJ3 GOP primary part 2 – the fight to make 08 look like a tea party.

Connors expected to announce he won’t run for Congress, but Runyan says he will again

There has been a good deal of talk and speculation about who will step up to challenge John Adler for his Congressional seat. Now it appears we have one name out and one name back in. First we have State Senator Chris Connors ready to take a pass:

State Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Lacey) is expected to announce — possibly as early as next week — that he will not seek the Republican nomination for Congress in District 3.  Connors was the first choice of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore, but has never seemed excited about the prospect of going to Washington.  That might leave retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Maurice “Mo” Hill, a Toms River Ward Councilman, as the Ocean County Republican organization candidate, unless Gilmore decides to go with ex-NFL player Jon Runyan.

We’ll have to see what Mo Hill and others have to say about their potential runs, but  then we also have Runyan jumping back in the Congressional candidate kiddie pool:

“Yup, as soon as this season is over. Hopefully, it’s a little bit later than sooner,” Runyan quipped in a telephone interview from the hometown of his newly adopted NFL team. Later than sooner, because Runyan hopes to get another crack at a Super Bowl ring this winter.

But come February, “I intend to retire from football and enter the Congressional race,” Runyan said.

As for whether he intends to finance his own campaign, “That’s something I have to sit down and discuss with my wife,” Runyan explained. “I haven’t really got there, I know it’s going to take some amount of money. … To win the race, it’s going to cost multiple millions of dollars.”

When Runyan first arrived in San Diego after being signed, he said he was just exploring his options and that he “hadn’t fully committed to that yet.” Whether or not he decides to self finance could play a big factor in if he gets the support of George Gilmore in Ocean County or if we see a primary for the seat. And then Republicans will still have to see where he stands on the issues too.