It’s primary season! On June 4th we all get to head out to the polls to cast a ballot to support our Republican candidates for local, county and state assembly positions, unless, of course, you have already cast your ballot by mail. If so, thank you!

If you have seen the sample ballot or the mail in, you are probably wondering why it looks the way it does. We all are.  I can offer you the following information so that you can understand the background, even though I cannot explain why the ballot looks the way it does.

Under New Jersey election laws, local candidates can request bracketing with the County candidates, by submitting a request to use the county Republican Party’s slogan. By law this request must be made in writing to the County Clerk, who then is required to obtain approval of the use of the slogan from the campaign chairperson for the county candidates.  In this case, we had two county freeholder candidates, Diane King and Andrea Sammons, and I am the chairperson of that campaign. Approval for use of the county slogan was not an issue because we had virtually no contested primary races.  However, in Gloucester County, the County Clerk requires a bracketing form to be submitted to request the county slogan. Those forms are submitted to the clerks office directly and the Clerks office conducts a bracketing meeting with the campaign chair to get approval for the use of the slogan.  Since many of our local candidates did not submit the bracketing form, the Clerks office did not seek approval for any of those candidates to use the slogan.  After researching the issue, this was clearly form over substance and we advised the clerks office that we approved use of the slogan across the board, but that request was ignored. As a result we have ballots with Republicans in the column for Regular Organization Republican and in a column for other republican. The result is a checkerboard…

As I have told many of you, there was no handbook or game plan given to me when I accepted the role of County Chair, and it would have been helpful to have a cohesive effort in getting bracketing forms submitted countywide. But we learn from our mistakes and we now have a plan on bracketing for the next primary. Each municipal chair will be responsible for a single written request for bracketing on behalf of each of his or her candidates to be submitted directly to the County GOP secretary one week in advance of the date for election petitions. These requests will be submitted by the Secretary to the Clerks office for purposes of bracketing.

Our Freeholder candidates do not appear on the ballot because there was a successful challenge filed by a Democrat operative.  The challenge knocked off a number of signatures, resulting in less than the required 100 signatures to place the names on the ballot. As a result, we have a write in campaign for our Freeholder candidates, Diane King and Andrea Sammons.  If you have a mail in ballot you need to write in our Freeholder candidates as well as your local County Committee candidates.  Those of you who vote in person will have to type in the names.  We need 100 write ins to make sure our candidates are on the ballot in November. We all need to work together to make this happen. 

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