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...