By Art Gallagher
Anna Little, the former Mayor of Highlands, former Freeholder and the 2010 GOP nominee in the 6th Congressional district is one step closer to challenging Monmouth County State Senator Joe Kyrillos for the GOP 2012 U.S. Senate nomination.
Little told Politickernj that she would be filing with the FEC today to open a campaign account for her U.S. Senate bid.
An embarrasing Little For Senate fundraising letter dated November 28, arrived in former donors’ mail boxes this week.
Atlantic Highlands Municipal Chairwoman Jane Frotten has resigned as Little’s campaign treasurer. Atlantic Highlands Mayor Fred Rast has resigned as president of Anna’s Army Foundation, “a non-profit educational foundation created in the image of Anna Little and her campaign for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of NJ.”
Until recently, the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Robert Menendez was seen as battle between Kyrillos and fellow State Senator Michael Doherty. Kyrillos has a Senate Exploritory Committee. Doherty has been traveling the state touting his Fair School Funding plan. MMM has learned from very reliable sources that Doherty is leaning against entering the Senate primary. If Doherty does stay out of the race, a head to head match up between Kyrillos and Little could be in the making.
Little should take a reality check and reconsider before her dreams of a political future are irreparably shattered.
Little made a name for herself with the stunning upset victory over Diane Gooch in the primary for the 6th congressional district nomination in 2010. Little’s margin of victory was 84 votes out of roughly 14,000 cast.
What Little has failed to realize, and she stops talking to anyone who tells her the truth, is that she didn’t win that primary so much as Gooch lost it.
Not that her victory was an accident. The strategy of the Little primary campaign was to sneak up from behind. I know because I, then still a close confidant of Little, helped design the strategy. None of the “experts” took Little’s challenge of the county party lines and the uber funded Gooch seriously going into the primary. That was the key to victory. Build a ground game to bring out new voters and count on the fact that the “experts” don’t see the Tea Party wave coming. Even the Tea Parties were shocked by the depth of the 2010 tsunami. David Corsi’s inexplicable primary victory over Scott Sipprelle in the Monmouth County portion of the 12th congressional district proves that the party establishment was caught with their pants around their ankles.
They won’t be caught off guard again.
The Gooch campaign’s primary strategy was to ignore Little and run against incumbent Congressman Frank Pallone. It was a good strategy for a conventional time. Conventional times ended in 2010 before the establishment realized it.
It wasn’t until the final weekend of the 2010 primary campaign when Little managed to get onto TV, that the Gooch campaign realized that they might have a problem. They tried legal maneuvers, that failed, to get Little’s ads pulled. It was too late to respond. Little had successfully used the “surprise them” and “get the last word” strategies that we had successfully used in Highlands campaigns many times.
The problem with a “don’t let them see you coming” playbook is that it only works once.
A key political operative with close ties to both Gooch and Kyrillos has been keeping a close eye on Little since she declared her rematch with Pallone on election night 2010.
“She won’t get a free ride next time,” said the operative on the condition of anonymity, “we had a thick opposition research file on her in 2010 but didn’t use it because we weren’t taking her seriously and didn’t want to hurt her needlessly. The file has gotten a lot thicker in the last year.”
With their discharge from Anna’s Army, Frotten and Rast join the growing brigade of Monmouth County politicos who will no longer go to battle for Little.
Roughly a year ago, this blog compared Little to Jon Corzine over a policy position she took in one of her final acts as the mayor of Highlands. Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that Little also shares a personality trait with the former governor. She surrounds herself with people who tell her what she wants to hear and burns bridges with those who tell her what she needs to hear.
Little had a bright political future ahead of her on election night in 2010. Then she started talking.
She declared her rematch with Pallone, announced the formation of Anna’s Army and challenged Gooch, who had funded independent anti-Pallone ads, to a rematch. She failed to thank her supporters, Tea Party and establishment, who were caught off guard by her lack of humility.
She’s on the verge of crossing a line from which there will be no return. She should reconsider and start mending fences. Many of her old friends are forgiving.