Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Unity

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Unity

Article excerpt

THE LEVEL of infighting among Bergen County Republicans has reached a fever pitch in recent days, including allegations of name- calling and misrepresentation of budget lines. It is a battle that threatens to expand and one that could derail the GOP's chances of maintaining control of the county Freeholder Board.

And yet if the Bergen Republican fight can be fairly labeled a family feud, then the prolonged GOP struggle in Passaic County can rightly be considered a civil war. That war, between forces loyal to Passaic County Regular Republican Organization Chairman Scott Rumana and former county GOP chairman Peter Murphy, may have seen the beginnings of a truce developing this week with the announcement that Scott Heck will take over as the party's county chairman in June.

Heck, 49, the town manager of Ringwood, is considered a consensus- builder and a "straight-shooter," just what the doctor ordered for a countywide party torn by inner strife. Importantly, he seems to have support up and down the county, and also, at least for the time being, the endorsement of both Rumana and Murphy.

"I hope to build on the successes that Assemblyman Rumana has achieved over the past six years as leader," Heck said. "I am honored to have been asked to lead our party moving forward and ask for the support of the entire Republican organization."

Heck's ascendance can be seen in the vein of reuniting the party heading into Governor Christie's reelection campaign in 2013. It was during Christie's first run, in 2009, that county Republicans achieved perhaps their greatest triumph of the split-party days. Michael Marotta, Deborah Ciambrone and Edward O'Connell, supported by Rumana and the regular Republicans, were elected to the Freeholder Board, while Kristin Corrado, a political novice, scored an upset in the clerk's race with the backing of Murphy. …

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