It's too early to call it, but it appears as if Tea Party fave Anna Little has defeated millionaire Diane Gooch for the Republican nomination and the right to face Democrat Frank Pallone in NJ-CD6 this November.
Little's campaign was considered to be uphill, to say the least, against Gooch (wife of wealthy businessman Mickey Gooch). But New Jersey Republicans still haven't learned - even after Christie's victory despite being outspent 3-1 by Corzine - it ain't about the money. It's about the passion. And Little and her supporters had plenty of it, while Gooch had...plenty of money. ABout 10x more than Little, apparently...
Gooch did not acknowledge Little's existence, preferring to focus on Pallone. Little challenged Gooch constantly; and made her look weak when she refused to debate or discuss. Little went out and shook hands and worked the people, Gooch spoke to millionaire's clubs and Republican insiders.
The Republican establishment wanted Gooch and her money; they figured that at the worst, she would force Pallone to drain his war chest a bit and make his potential run for Senate in two years that much tougher. Alas for the Party, the People decided they wanted to nominate someone with similar values to theirs to actually represent them in Congress.
Over in CD-12, the money won, but just barely. Millionaire Scott Sipperelle edged out the Tea Party endorsed ( and previously unknown) David Corsi by less than 1200 votes. Had tax-cutting, budget-balancing Fair Haven mayor Mike Halfacre stayed in it, he would have won the nomination cleanly. But he backed out after a convention fight, and Sipperelle winds up barely squeaking out a primary win over (Tea-Party approved) David Corsi, an underfunded unknown. How's he gonna hold up against Pelosi fave Rush Holt, who has money, the power of incumbency, and the DNC lined up against him?
The New Jersey Republican Party thinks they won big in CD-12, with Sipperelle promising to spend $750K on his own campaign. They don't get it, and it will cost us CD-12:
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.
It ain't about the cash in 2010. It's about the passion, and the connection to the voters. Anna Little's got it, and she will put a scare into the detestable Democrat Frank Pallone. Sipperelle's got cash, but not much else. The New Jersey Republican party will learn - hopefully - but too late to save the residents of CD-12 from God-knows-how-many more years of left wing nut Rush Holt...
In the meantime...Go ANNA Go!