Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Republicans Kick off Campaign to Regain Assembly in November

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Republicans Kick off Campaign to Regain Assembly in November

Article excerpt

They quoted Lincoln, Reagan and former Gov. Tom Kean. They espoused lowering taxes and slashing spending, railed against "junk" Democratic legislation and frequently praised their party's leader, Governor Christie.

New Jersey's Republicans formally lighted a flame within the party Monday night in a red-splashed ballroom at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, kicking off a 10-month push to take control of the Assembly for the first time in more than a decade.

Republicans hold 32 seats in the lower house and need nine to take control -- a formidable challenge given that the party's registered voters are outnumbered by Democrats by about 700,000. Republicans lost control of the Assembly in 2002. But the party is seeking to ride a wave from the 2014 election that gave Republicans the majority in the U.S. Senate while going on an offensive against state Democrats they say have been ineffective and out of touch.

While the theme was focused on 2015, the gathering of hundreds of Republicans clearly had long-term implications. The event's host, Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, is seen as a contender for governor in 2017, and several speakers alluded to such a run. But the party must first coalesce and get through November, a challenge on its own, said Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin.

"What I find to be the biggest obstacle and my biggest challenge - - and possibly sharing this with you will help you -- I find that to be Republican unity, getting everyone to work together in a November election, convincing people that it's more important to win and beat Democrats in November than to burn your house down and keep your fellow Republicans from winning because you hate your fellow Republican more than you want to beat the Democrat in November," he said.

Party leaders criticized Democrats for what they called failed economic policies and focusing on "junk" legislation, like banning the tattooing of cats.

"We are losing jobs, like Mercedes, like Sony, Hertz -- these are six-figure salaries that are going to places like Florida, like Georgia, that we may never get back," said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale. …

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