Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Did Republicans make a mistake in NJ-12?

Late yesterday, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre pulled out of the Republican race to challenge the detestable Rush Holt (D) in New Jersey-12, leaving the field clear for retired Wall Street millionaire Scott Sipprelle.

This blog supported Halfacre, as did many of the grassroots Republicans voters in CD-12. He managed to lower taxes in his township in consecutive years, he held town hall meetings for the district simultaneously w/Holt's to talk about health care (and to accommodate the hundreds left out in the cold as Holt chose especially small venues), and he actually seemed to be interested in bettering the lives of New Jersey residents by trying to get Washington off our our backs and out of our pockets.

Sipprelle? A Wall Streeter who made a number of political donations in the past few years to Democrats, he first decided to run a mere three months ago. Insular and unknown, Sipprelle seems to get quite angry when asked about these questionable donations, and has out and out lied about it to potential constituents:

Back in January, just after Sipprelle got into the race for the GOP nomination to challenge Rush Holt, he told Tea Party activist John Mennella that he donated to Schumer because his boss at Morgan Stanley pressured him to. Sipprelle said he quit Morgan as a result. MoreMonmouthMusings discovered that was not possible, as Sipprelle left Morgan in 1998 but donated to Schumer in 2002.Why does Sipprelle have such a hard time explaining his relationship with Schumer? Why does he get testy when someone brings it up?

Maybe this is why:

Schumer sponsored a series of bills that made home mortgages easier to get. 1% down payments and loan guarantees. Preservation of defenses with respect to the sale or transfer of predatory loans. He also sponsored legislation making it easier for credit reporting agencies to disclose consumer credit scores. Was Sipprelle's hedge fund trading sub-prime mortgages?

Nevertheless, Sipprelle has one thing Halfacre didn't have. Cash. And a promise to spend $750K of his own money on the campaign. That was enough for him to buy off every Republican County convention in the district. Too bad this race is not going to be about money. There's very little advert sing a candidate can do in NJ-12; as part of the New York radio/TV market any ads on major TV stations would simply get lost in the shuffle and would be unlikely to reach much of its desired target. Instead, one must advertise strictly on cable and New Jersey radio stations; neither of which is an expensive proposition.

So we could have had a proven tax-cutting social conservative, a lifelong Republican with grassroots appeal to run against Holt. Instead, we get a johnny-come -lately opportunist, another rich guy who wants something to do, who will be eaten alive by Holt.

I can see the ads now: "Do we really need another representative of Wall Street in Congress?" and "Did Sipprelle contribute to candidates that helped him cause the mortgage mess that afflicts you today?" and "Why won't Sipprelle come clean about his questionable campaign donations?", complete with videos of his misleading and angry responses. Holt and the Democrats will have a blast, while the best Sipprelle can do is turn it into a mud-slinging match, which will neither help his image or stimulate turnout.

Great job, guys. You saved yourself the struggle of fundraising and in return nominated a flawed candidate, in the one year where we have an actual shot to knock off Rush Holt. a Congressman to the left of Nancy Pelosi. Thanks.

Nevertheless, I'll pull the lever for Sipprelle. What choice do I have? But I feel I will be joined by a lot less people than I would have expected...


Tao Fox said...

Why would a democrat draw attention to his opponent contributing to democrats? That makes no sense.

Johnny come lately? The primary is in June, there is still two full months. Grassroots? Halfacre could've showed that at the Middlesex Convention where any regular Republican can be a delegate. There were almost 360, and Halfacre managed a meager 134. Not exactly what you would call a strong grassroots effort.

And democrats aren't laughing, they have already started transferring funds fo Holt. Why would they do that if they considered Sipprelle just another token challenger?

Sipprelle has a long way to go to prove he is a legitimate challenger, but your analysis seems way off. You need to get over this fantasy world where Halfacre had "grassroots" support. He didn't.

The JerseyNut said...

As far as drawing attention to his contributions, certainly the DNC could easily create a group called "Concerned Citizens for New Jersey" to create an ad questioning his actions. Done all the time, especially in the dirty races.

I'll grant your point on the Middlesex Convention. However, at least in my portion of NJ-12, I knew plenty of people who had met and supported (and contributed to ) Halfacre. Maybe these aren't the type of people who go to conventions. But I know they vote.

My concern is that we tossed aside someone who would have made a credible candidate for a man who's appeal to some folks might have been his bank account, both to spend on a campaign and to spread around the party during election season...I hope I am wrong.

Regardless - I will support Sipprelle in whatever meager capacity I can this November...

Anonymous said...

You are repeating unsubstantiated speculation by a mud-slinging blogger who failed to intimidate Sipprelle. Find a sub-prime mortgage Sipprelle was involved with and you'll be the toast of the wing-nut crowd. You totally underestimate Sipprelle--as did Halfacre and his buffon managers. Halfacre couldn't even carry his home county in spite of all the pols professing to be behind him. That's because Sipprelle went to the grass roots and the pols got the message. Holt is running scared. If you don't believe it, get some well-placed Dem who is being beseeched for campaign donations and see what Holt is telling them.

The JerseyNut said...

Whoa, easy, I don't believe in inter-party warfare, anonymous. But what I will say is I believe I define grassroots differently - as in grassroot supporters as opposed to grassroots activists. Next time, I know to show up and bring my posse with me.

And I sincerly hope that Sipprelle wasn't involved with any mortgage issues. Because if he was, Holt & the Dem machine will eat him for lunch. One thing is for certain - he's gotta be more forthright about why he contributed to so many Democrats. He gets pissed of when asked. Be honest about it, and everyone will be able to move on. Be bitchy about it, and it will be used to taunt him from now until November.

Anonymous said...

Last I checked the jersey shore tea party is supporting David Corsi. I am not an official tea party member, but I do follow their activities. I and a lot of other CD-12 residents will do the same. Will this give David Corsi a better chance?