Three traits of a great chair: The Danskin Model

By Wayne Pomanowski

Monmouth County has had three chairmen in the past eight years. There is nothing better for the Republican Party than a steady sure strong but compassionate hand to guide this fine organization. My favorite chairman was of course Ben Danskin. This is not to demean from any of the other chairmen in our party but simply to highlight what made Ben such a solid leader. Ben had three strong traits.

1.  Ben could party build. Ben was out probably five nights a week. He attended local GOP meetings in every town. Ben was a smiling face who could pull you into the mix. For me he was someone who was a leader I could believe in. He was there when I needed a pat on the back and also there when I needed a kick in the pants.

2. Ben could raise money. Ben had his famous power hitter’s breakfast every year and was known to raise tens of thousands at those meetings. And you could always count on Ben to be at every county and local fundraiser.

3. Ben was a peacemaker. Maybe you didn’t make a piece until Ben had taken you to the woodshed, but after that discussion you knew you were welcome back into the fold. But Ben would never hold a grudge. He told you straight out how he felt and when the discussion was over he expected you back in line with the team.

As we here in Monmouth County go through the selection process so often county committee people are pulled into this race with suggestions and directions from party leaders as to who they should vote for. The only question is, from the criteria I have outlined from the above, which candidate will best provide you with the three criteria for a great chair. For those of us who have chosen the political life your decision on June 12 will be critical for the strength and growth of this fine party for the next two years.

Editors note:  Ben Danskin was the Monmouth County Republican Chairman from 1969 until 1982.   Congressman Chris Smith read a tribute/biography of Danskin into the Congressional Record on July, 14, 2005. 

Posted: May 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , | 34 Comments »

34 Comments on “Three traits of a great chair: The Danskin Model”

  1. Edith T. Nowels said at 9:47 am on May 24th, 2012:

    So sad for folks that never experienced the dignity and honor our Monmouth County Republican Organization afforded to those who contributed to the success and camaraderie under Ben Danskin’s leadership. His enthusiasm, appreciation, all encompassing, friendly, down-to-earth, ‘let’s get ‘er done’ approach empowered the grassroots to proudly tread the trenches with great respect for our purpose. Oh my gosh, Wayne, so glad for your sincere, well-deserved tribute to Ben. Consider yourself hugged Ben!!!!

  2. Jim Granelli said at 11:09 am on May 24th, 2012:

    Three Thumbs Up Wayne

  3. RepublicanRed said at 12:52 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    Christine Hanlon possesses all three traits!
    She is going to be a Great Chair for the Monmouth County Republican Committee

  4. Exactly why said at 4:48 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    many are supporting John Bennett.. experience and qualifications, and no county business..

  5. Exactly said at 7:07 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    Experience, knowledge, and a plan i can feel good about. I’m supporting Bennett too.

  6. Funny said at 9:05 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    See the above to comments. Thats Johns idea of a social media campaign.

  7. With both eyes open said at 9:11 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    It’s Christine Hanlon all the way, seen her actively in action for years.

  8. My Questions said at 11:17 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    The following is copy and paste, repeated from other threads as REALLY want true info:

    This is disturbing to me….my husband is County Committee and just heard about Joe (apparently) not running for re-election. He thinks John Bennett has the strong political background and”gravitas” to be Chair and also has complimented the “newbie” Chris for her re: couple of years of dedicated volunteer service. BUT, got wind of the “jobs” situation and other questions that he has. The following I did confirm, if websites are current as to Chris:
    1. Member of Monmouth County Board of Elections, PAID position??? How much? “Rumor” — please anyone with “facts” answer this — does this part time position really come with FAMILY health coverage and is her husband also a lawyer with a full time position?
    I did find the following which does reflect she is on the Board (but couldn’t come up quick with if position is paid/includes health):
    http://www.visitmonmouth.com/page.aspx?ID=897 http://www.monmouthlegal.com/christine.html
    2. Tinton Falls?? Per data universe paid and “in the system”
    3. Is in a law firm
    that does significant gov’t work — Middletown, Tinton Falls, the County
    4. PTA Mom with FOUR elementary school age children???? Adding to the several paid jobs, lawyer in firm, I find it bizarre that anyone in this position would have ANY interest or the TIME to add in the job of a County Chair, unless there is another plan.., see below comment 6.
    5. Just FYI I am not “anti-female,”just the opposite. I actively “follow” politics, am a staunch conservative R mother, always vote, but devote my efforts to my 3 children ages 14, 10 and 6 (taking a hiatus from my former life as an MD) and I do spend a portion of each evening checking politicker, blogs, etc and share info w/husband who does his “Committeman” in medium size town job well while working full time to make a living for our family.
    6. We were both impressed with the John Bennett letter, and we agree with every initiative etc. – was this a pre-emptive strike because Chris Hanlon is announcing that she will be a “full time Chair” which could be compelling to offset her having just been involved for a couple of years??
    Need real info from people that are not shills for either of these two R’s — anyone out there???? Remember Reagan

  9. silliness said at 11:42 pm on May 24th, 2012:

    If you don’t want to support C. Hanlon fine, but do not pretend that the issue is she has 4 children.
    Jay Webber was Chairman of the statement party with a bushel of children, a sitting assemblyman and a partner in a lawfirm. No one questioned that, but when a woman runs you want to know “why would she have any interest” shame on you.
    Monmouth County has been blessed with strong female political representation.
    Women with outside careers and families. Let’s not set us back.
    The worst thing we can do is start to contribute to the Democratic thinking that Republicans are anti-women which is exactly what this kind of thinking promotes
    Come out of the dark ages
    Even J. Bennett with daughters himself would expect them to strive for the moon!

  10. @silliness from "My questions" said at 12:02 am on May 25th, 2012:

    I asked questions, honestly, and you attacked as to my question as to her being a Mom with 4 kids….one of my last questions. I don’t have a vote…my husband does as County Committee…he s busy I am trying to “get the facts” and we both want total Republican victory in 2012. No pretend issue with kids…being realistic….I KNOW, I am “living it. ” I know what I have to do to keep up w/my three and I think a couple are older than Chris’s children…..I was thinking that the County Chair W/out legal work etc. and being a Mom would actually be a good mix…..but I see NO WAY all the lawyering+mother stuff+Chair being feasible. I am realistic, been there/done that trying to “do it all” — Why would a relatively young Mom want to be out most evenings going to political events unless she was with her kids after school etc and not spreading so thin.
    I really would appreciate responses to the other issues.

    Again–maybe Chris is waiting to put out the “real deal” — the full time Chair — that would be a game changer, but as it stands there is too much going on and it is a “recipe for disaster” IMHO

  11. Uninformed said at 12:23 am on May 25th, 2012:

    I can’t believe the sexist rant I just read. Obviously this individual doesnt know Ms. Hanlon. To boot, Bennett is still supporting his kids landing them legal work and state jobs just like he did with his family members when he had a legislative office. He is the biggest pig that has ever lived when it comes to such matters. I doubt Bennett even knows where HQ is. I have never ever seen him there. He has given more money to state democrats who oppose our governor than Monmouth republicans the last 4 years.

  12. Jim Granelli said at 8:32 am on May 25th, 2012:

    @ My Questions,

    I too am appalled at your point # 4 regarding Christine’s ability to multitask with regards to her family. Christine has energy to spare.

    John Bennett having gravitas? Apparently you are not aware of John Bennett’s past problems and record.

    And WTF is this about?

    “Again–maybe Chris is waiting to put out the “real deal” — the full time Chair — that would be a game changer,”

    Are you saying Chris Christie is going to put out the “real deal chair?” If that is your point, you surely are WAY off base.

  13. @Jim Granelli fromQuestions said at 11:33 am on May 25th, 2012:

    The “full time Chair” I was referring to is Chris Hanlon …. I said that would be a “game changer” “slam dunk” if Chris H was to announce that she would be a “full time Chair.” I have no clue where you got the idea that I was referring in any manner to the Governor.
    Gosh, the vitriol —– “sexist” “uniformed” wow! Also VERY strange that no one responded to any of the questions I raised. Oh well, have to seek other sources where reasonable discussion can be held.
    “Remember Reagan”

  14. BobIngleFan said at 12:15 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    This is a good read about John Bennett from The Soprano State:


  15. Jim Granelli said at 12:26 pm on May 25th, 2012:


    Sorry but you are still off base. If you meant Christine, why didn’t you write that instead of Chris? Your use of the word Chris, is easily considered to be Chris Christie. You did NOT originally say Chris H, so it would be easy for someone to start scratching their head over who you mean.

    And besides, why would Chris Hanlon put out another candidate when she has tons of endorsements and the election is only two weeks or so away?

    Sexist, I’m being accused of being sexist when I supported Serena & now support Christine? WOW. These are two dynamite ladies, the kind of energy we need in this party.

    Vitriol? No, were’ just trying to illustrate that you are wrong.

    Finally, I am not sure I remember the last time or know of any time when there was a FULL TIME chair.

  16. Public record.. said at 3:21 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    part-time County Board of Elections, app. $24,600, with full health benefits.. several public checks from towns and over $100,000 in county work for her firm..dip, dip,dip..and, please,do not criticize Bennett’s public paychecks but say it’s fine for her-at her current rate, she’ll surpass his 30 years of service in about 5..it’s the height of hypocrisy!..to my knowledge, despite the amount of time it does take as a chair,no Monmouth county chair in some 35 years has been “full-time,” from Danskin, to Kniesler, to Dowd, to Niemann, to Puharic, to Oxley, they had other jobs.. and,if she’s so high on “technology”, she wouldn’t need to be full-time, right?.. and, without getting involved in the 4 kid-thing, my opinion is, Bennett would arguably have more time, at this point in his career, to deal with all the multiple calls, and meetings, and crises, and with running all over the county at all hours, than she would..

  17. To the Chris-bots: said at 3:45 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    can’t understand why you will selectively go back 4 years in the party, which is all her campaign experience, (guess nothing was ever accomplished in Monmouth, before she and her friends arrived), but will dig back a decade to find negatives on John..that’s another hypocrisy..!

  18. Jim Granelli said at 4:27 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    @To The Chris Bots,

    I’ll answer that…

    I believe it’s more about quality over quantity. it’s about a better image that the stodgy good old boy’s club.

    I want a solid grass roots activist, like Christine who was Monmouth County Coordinator for the Christie Campaign (remember the huge vote margin there?) and the Coordinator for the McCain Campaign.

    THOSE are grass roots connections I know she has kept in touch with and built from. They are invaluable for building Republican victories.

  19. Jim Granelli said at 4:29 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    Let me rephrase that quality over quantity line. It’s more about quality and experienced grass roots activists, RECENT quality experience in that field.

    I am NOT saying John is not a quality guy. 🙂

  20. Curious said at 8:21 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    What is her record as Chair in Ocean Township? It looks like she wears many hats. Being a mother of 4 young children is a 24/7 job by itself.

  21. Freespeaker1976 said at 9:19 pm on May 25th, 2012:


    Ocean Twp is a non partisan election, but leans right as I understand it, even on the Board Of Education.

    As to the constant questioning of Christine’s family time, it sounds like we got “Bennett Bots” here repeating insulting talking points.

    Is that all you got folks because it is shameful.

    Shameful. The libs attack Republicans on the false premise that Republicans suggest that women should stay home in the kitchen. And here you are “Curious” suggesting much the same.

  22. Curious said at 10:19 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    Freespeaker, thank you for a reply but your answer gives me nothing to go on. My observation and experience simple states Mrs. Hanlon has 4 small children and that requires an enormus amount of parental time. I am asking does anyone know her record as Chair in Ocean Township? For example, how many committee seats has she filled, etc ?

  23. ArtGallagher said at 10:40 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    Disrespectfully, the number of children Mr. and Mrs. Hanlon are raising is irrelevent to anybody expect the Hanlons, as far as Christine seeking this office is concerned.

    The blantant sexism exhibited in these comments, especially from women, is shameful.

    As the eldest of four children of the first, if not the first woman to serve as President of a Board of Education in New Jersey, while my father was a council member in our town, I am deeply offended by these comments. That was in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    How will Christine handled it? None of your business. That’s how. Unless the Hanlon’s want to share that information in order to empower other couples to serve, its none of your frickin business.

    The next person, and each and every other, who brings this up is banned from commenting. Forever.

  24. BobIngleFan said at 11:35 pm on May 25th, 2012:

    Then the family commitments of 4 children, schools activities, birthdays, baseball, ballet, parent teacher conferences, both sets of Grand Parents, in-law functions, cousins, house hold chores, does that take 20 hours a week?

    Wow, that’s a very good start Sean G. But what about sleeping, eating, cooking, pooping, showering, holiday barbeques, shopping, how many hours will THOSE add??

  25. Nothing to do with gender!.. said at 10:12 am on May 26th, 2012:

    and everything to do with experience in ALL types of election years, good AND bad.. the lady is a good volunteer with 4 years experience,who wears many hats, as many people do.. my problem is the same problem I had with Puharic (that would be the biggest chair mistake we made in the history of the MCRC: he was simply out of his depth( never mind clique-ish and not very nice to many people), but the experience, or lack thereof, WAS the main problem: he’d lost as a local candidate, never won as a local chair, never raised enough money, because he didn’t know people and had no earned respect or clout to persuade, and he was thrust into a county-wide role which he was totally unprepared for..just don’t want to see us with too much dependence on Trenton, especially when the goings get rough, which they always do, make no mistake…maybe in a few years, but not now… Bennett is the wiser choice, this time..

  26. ArtGallagher said at 1:32 pm on May 26th, 2012:

    Sean G and his/her various pseudonyms is banned.

  27. Tom Stokes said at 2:51 pm on May 26th, 2012:

    I thought Hillary Rosen, the Obama advocate who criticized Mrs. Romney for being a stay at home mom as “never having worked a day in her life” (not to mention her fighting cancer and MS) had started to write on MMM based upon some of the comments I just read here.

    I would not criticize Ms. Rosen for never having given birth to a child (being a lesbian)…that’s her choice.

    Whether a mother stays at home to raise the children or goes to work is HER choice, and she should not be criticized unfairly for HER choice.

  28. RepublicanRed said at 8:11 pm on May 26th, 2012:

    Thank You Art G for being the voice of reason in respect for others.

  29. Has no wins said at 9:21 pm on May 26th, 2012:

    as a chair-oh, yes, it’s a non-partisan town, but if you accept the title, you have two main jobs: fill your seats and be active in and win local races.. you still have to try and recruit and field candidates of the Republican philosophy, to run your town..is not the case there..adding a title to one’s resume without the years of work and successes to back it up is hollow at best and superficial at worst..sorry, this just doesn’t measure up.. this is way too fast of a snow-job to suit me!

  30. Simply Right said at 10:25 am on May 27th, 2012:

    The misogyny evidenced in some of these posts is disgusting, but at the same time … almost refreshing. Finally the true feelings of that entrenched “old boys’ network” is exposed. What those with cushy appointments that ‘make rain’ in their own monetary endeavors won’t do/say when their backs are against the wall! After reading this blatant sexist nonsense against the most competent person for the chairman’s position for days I wondered if it bothered anyone else as much as me. Art, you have my utmost respect in stopping the vicious rhetoric that has developed on your blog. Thank you from someone who knows both contenders very well, and without reservation chooses Christine Giordano Hanlon for County Chairman.

  31. Freespeaker1976 said at 10:48 am on May 27th, 2012:

    @Has No Wins

    First, how can you have wins when you are a non partisan town? The fact that it leans right is enough for me, including the Board Of Education.

    Secondly, about the County Committee Seats; yawwwwwwwwwwwwn. Tired Rhetoric. There are SOOOOOO many towns with out a full slate of County Committee People and at least a couple with out any.

    It’s difficult enough to find County Committee people that want to work, let alone find enough people who have time to fill these slots.

    Have YOU ever tried to fill a County Committee slot? If so, you know how hard that is.

    What counts for me is Christine’s RECENT Grass Roots work, LEADING efforts as the County Coordinator for Christie (HUGE Vote Margin For Christie) & County Coordinator for McCain.

    THOSE are leadership positions. Where was John Bennett recently LEADING Grass Roots efforts, which is more than half of a County Chair’s job?

  32. Ask Mayor Mike Skudera said at 12:50 pm on May 27th, 2012:

    from Tinton Falls,and others on our side, who have put together slates to run in non-partisan towns,who can get along and provide leadership: that equates to WINS, when a majority of a slate is Republican in philosophy!..was done years ago in Asbury Park of all places, with good Republicans like Judge Paul Kapalko, who came the closest to beating Pallone when he tried for Congress!..the problem for some is that, with little or no frame of reference, they only want want they have known and experienced, only they know and can do!- the hell with everyone else..while not considering others of all ages and experiences bring much to the table,too!.. see that attitude as very polarizing,short-sighted, and sad for the org…. and, they sure can’t take a question or another opinion without trashing and getting nasty!.. small-mindedness does not cut it, when running a diverse, large group of people, sorry.. and, ok,have you?.. was a chair for many years and filled each seat with active people every year, and won every local seat.. that’s what I’d consider being a chair in deeds, not just words!…. love the way the newbies/critics always ask what they themselves haven’t done!..am sure many will unfortunately go along with that mentality, but I for one hope that more will see through the veneer and hype and vote differently..

  33. As one active Republican said at 12:58 pm on May 27th, 2012:

    I know for a long time always says: we aren’t voting for you for your “brillance,” or so you can skyrocket to the heights of the state and income brackets, in record time, we’re looking for leaders who will serve the rank and file, and the overall cause first, and themselves last..

  34. When all is said and done, said at 1:10 pm on May 27th, 2012:

    this is first amd foremost, a County organization, and the County has to come first!.. while Governors and Presidential candidates come and go every 4 years, the important thing for us as taxpayers, and for our quality of life here, in Monmouth, is that every single year our HQ is buzzing for the County slate, our first job and goal is “the courthouse,” meaning every one of the eight County elected positions needs to stay GOP, with that being the focus, NOT just turning over the HQ we support and pay for, for a free HQ for the flavor- of- the- year, at the top of the ticket..as for the McCain debacle, when the national pulled out and stopped all support and hope of winning NJ, he didn’t, by a large margin, remember?-it was local, COUNTY people who went and raised thousands for signs, to keep the visible presence going..so, ok, give her the credit for what several others others did- but, so, there,maybe Hanlon for state or national chair, but not county chair!..