JUNE 30, 2021 – BobandSteve.com
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I’m getting old, which means I’ve been around for a long time and seen a lot of things. Last night, I witnessed something – I saw the largest number of Republicans I’ve seen in ar oom in Gloucester County in a very long time – it reminded me of an election season rally that was held for former state Senator George Geist and his Assembly running mates way back in the 2003 election cycle (which was so long ago Ed Waters was still running campaigns).
JACCI VIGILANTE WITH JACK CIATTARELLI
The event was the Gloucester County GOP reorganization meeting held at the Broadway Theater in Pitman. The reason for the crowd? Chairwoman Jacci Vigilante. There is no other explanation. It was vigilantism Gloucester County GOP style! There was a rumor there might be a challenge to Vigilante’s leadership. It didn’t happen. County committee is united behind Vigilante. She was re-elected unanimously, as was her executive committee.
If you told me back in 2018 that a theater would be packed full of Vigilante supporters I would have laughed in your face. I remember when Vigilante was elected – I called the state party screaming, I screamed so loud, using much of the colorful language I’m known for, that former state party Chairman Doug Steinhardt dispatched his executive director, Theresa Winegar, to broker peace. I’m glad that happened!
Vigilante, it turned out, was willing to put in the work to do what was (and is) necessary to build a party. She wisely started by building camaraderie among the rank-and-file launching monthly GOP breakfasts and happy hours for those of us who hate mornings.
She launched a new and improved website and grew the party’s social media. Vigilante then worked hard to rebuild bridges with municipal committees that had been burned by previous leaders. After getting Republicans in the county to start talking to each other again, Vigilante set out to growing the county committee by filling seats with folks who actually do the work.
Today, there are elected – not appointed – members of county committee in every town with the exception of Paulsboro. Vigilante is spending money on municipal and county races, something that hasn’t happened in a long time. It’s paying off, county Republicans are getting closer and winning at the municipal level. Last year’s shocker was a win in Monroe Township. At the county level Republicans were within a half a percent. In five municipalities Republicans werewithin 1.5% or less.
Vigilante is not afraid to pick a fight with the Democrats at the state or local level. She called out the Democratic State Committee for being hypocrites and she’s dragged the Democrats into court to fight for fair elections. Gloucester County Republicans are taking the fight to the Democrats and it shows. In this cycle the Democrats had two legislative candidates removed from the ballot through petition challenges, Vigilante went with a direct mail and text messaging campaign to get candidates on the ballot for November. It worked, no Democrat legislator will go unchallenged. She does what it takes to ensure Democrats are challenged and forced to fight.
It’s not often that I am wrong, but I am glad I was wrong back in 2018. Congratulations onyour re-election Chairwoman Vigilante, for once, I don’t mind eating a little humble pie.