Monmouth GOP convention called for September 29. Bylaws to be adopted

Monmouth GOP Chairman John O. Bennett has announced that a convention of the County Committee will be held on Saturday September 29 at Colts Neck High School for the purpose of adopting party by laws and to”rally for our candidates.”  Previously, a new State Committeeman was to be elected at the convention to replace Bennett, but he has decided not to resign from that office.

Bennett has distributed his proposed by-laws for the county party to members of the county committee.  A copy can be found here.

To Bennett’s credit, this “final draft” has been adjusted substantially to address the reactions that incumbent office holders had to his original proposed rules for nominating candidates that he unveiled last week at meetings with county elected officials and legislators, the as yet unofficial board of directors and the municipal chairs.

The original proposal for candidate selection would have given no consideration to incumbents.  Anyone who submitted a letter of intent and appeared before a steering committee could have challenged an incumbent at nominating convention.  This proposal, combined with the chairman’s instructions, not in the by-laws, that incumbents restrict and adjust their fundraising activities, left most county elected officers and some legislators feeling angry and vulnerable.  This “final draft” has addressed the incumbents concerns, to a degree.  Good thing too.  Bennett was in danger of being as relevant to incumbent office holders as Chairman Bill Dowd was to Bennett when he was a senator.  Not very.

This “final draft” provides that challengers to incumbents gather signatures from county committee members.  Challengers for county offices; freeholder, sheriff, clerk and surrogate, will have to gather 40 signatures. No more than one third of the signatures can come from one town.  Challengers to incumbent legislators will have to gather endorsments from 25 county committee members, no more than half from one town.   Letters of intent and the accompanying endorsements must be submitted 14 days prior to the nominating convention.  Challengers may have to appear before a steering committee that may be established by the chairman.

Incumbents are not required to appear before a steering committee, if there is one established, in order to seek renomination from the convention.  But they must gather endorsements to submit with their letters of intent. County office incumbents must gather 25 endorsments, no more than half from one town.  Incumbent legislators must gather 10 endorsements, no more than half from one town.

Candidates for “open seats” will be required to gather 10 endorsements, no more than half from one town.

All candidates for statewide and congressional offices will have to follow the procedure for county offices.

Even though these rules are labeled “final draft”  MMM respectfully proposes the following changes:

1) The rules should clearly state that vacancies in elected office shall be filled in accordance with Title 19.  That has to happen according law. Including such a provision in the by-laws will address the inevitable confusion that will result among some county committee members who might not know the difference between a convention to nominate a candidate and a convention to elect an office holder.

2) “Open seat” needs to be defined.  Will a future seat held by a Democrat seeking reelection be considered open?  Will a vacancy be considered an “open seat?”

3) Why set the bar to seek an open seat so low as only 10 endorsements from voting eligible county committee members.  Set the standard for seeking an “open seat” at the same level as challenging an incumbent.  Separate the wheat from the chaff early.

3) Scrap requiring incumbents from gathering endorsements.  That is busy work for people who are already busy.  A letter of intent should do.  Inevitably some future incumbent, a good office holder and popular candidate, will fall short of this requirment.  What will happen then?

4) Rethink the requirements for statewide and congressional candidates.  Will Governor Christie have to gather endorsements next year to appear before the Monmouth GOP nominating convention?   What will happen if he doesn’t?  What if Bob Gordon, Barbara Gonzalez or Mark Falzon get 40 signatures to challenge Christie at the 2013 convention? Will Congressman Chris Smith have to gather endorsments in 2014?  What happens if he doesn’t?  Are 10 endorsements enough for a candidate for an open statewide or congressional office? There could be 20 or more candidates for governor appearing at the 2017 convention.

5) Clarify the endorsements.  Can a county committee member endorse more than one candidate for the same office?

The other provision of the “final draft” that needs adjusting is Section 6, the establishment of a Board of Directors to serve as an Advisory Board “in part and policy” should the chairman call a meeting of the Board.

This is an idea that has been proposed and kicked around since the days of GOP for Change and the revolt against Dowd.

As proposed, the number of directors and regions represented is undefined.  The directors appointed by municipal chairs can only serve for one consecutive year.  That defeats any substantive purpose of having a board of directors.  As proposed, the board has no real power.  If the purpose of this proposal is to appease those who have been pushing for it for years, why bother?  They won’t be appeased by a ceremonial board with no real purpose.

Posted: September 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments »

11 Comments on “Monmouth GOP convention called for September 29. Bylaws to be adopted”

  1. Wait A Second! said at 11:43 am on September 13th, 2012:

    Bennett isn’t resigning from his State Committeemen seat, is that correct?

    I thought he promised to resign?

    If he did indeed promise to resign and now is reneging, this shows that the good old boys network just doesn’t care.

    Where am I wrong here?

  2. no, u wait a second: said at 1:09 pm on September 13th, 2012:

    anyone at the last several events, since the National Convention in Tampa knows that the Chair has been asked to finish out his state committeeman seat’s term,by the NJ Rep. State Chair Sam Raia.. he will do so, then not seek another term, as pledged.. at that time, the c.c. will gather to endorse it’s 2013 slate for the Primary incumbents and any open or new seats, as well as pick the state committeeman and woman for the next two years, thereby having both seats back in synch as per statute..to those remaining critics and naysayers:do try and keep your shirts on: if other past chairs had kept as many promises made in their whole terms as quickly as Mr. Bennett has so far in this one, perhaps we’d not have had as many blunders along the way..and, one can now see why past chairs may have promised by-laws but gave up, with everyone picking each paragraph apart, second-guessing,and chiming in their two-cents.. it’s an organizational FRAMEWORK that can be amended ta any future time, for heaven’s sake, that mosthave been yelling for, for years.. well, here it is….and, for some “incumbents”: to be in panic-mode that they actually have to stand before their own 700-odd c.c. members, and ask for support for another term, makes one wonder if they themselves feel whether they have kept their campaign promises, and/or served well enough,to have earned another term!

  3. Art Gallagher said at 4:26 pm on September 13th, 2012:

    Run on Rosie,

    Thank you for clarifying why the chairman is not resigning the State Committee seat. Most people, certainly not “700-odd c.c. members” have been at the “the last several events” in the last 14 days since Tampa.

    Everyone should keep their shirts on and not be so sensitive about suggested changes. Bylaws are more than a “FRAMEWORK.” They cannot be amended “at any time.” They can only be amended via the procedure outlined in the bylaws Section 9:

    These by-laws may be amended by a vote of members of the MCRC, provided said amendment shall have been submitted to the County Chairman and Executive Board in writing.

    Which reveals another problem…”Executive Board” is not defined. A hostile nit picker could argue that therefore the bylaws can’t be amended. Another hostile nit picker could argue that they therefore invalid.

    Rather than chastising the “nit pickers” you should be thanking them for their willingness to contribute. Best to get these done right the first time and avoid expensive and unnecessary litigation in the future. Haste makes waste.

    Your shots at past chairmen and incumbents are uncalled for.

  4. Interesting said at 6:59 pm on September 13th, 2012:

    Interesting that 1/3 of the “board of directors” will be appointed by the chairmen and interesting that one of them will be from the TEA party. The agenda of the chairmen is becoming clear. Although I am happy the CC is being brought together and voting. It does seem interesting the way these bylaws are written and give ALOT of power to the chairmen. The fundraising that is being done is also very interesting.

    Mr. Bennett, with all due respect, your power grab is becoming clearer every day and your starting to ruffle some feathers.

  5. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » ByLaws: Keep them simple said at 9:22 am on September 14th, 2012:

    […] we wrote yesterday, we think there are some issues in the bylaws […]

  6. Lets Take A Guess Who That Member From said at 1:13 pm on September 14th, 2012:

    The Tea Party Would Be…

    Barbara Gonzolez? A nutcase in a leadership position? I again say, it’s time to form a new Monmouth County based Tea Party, one with responsible and visionary leadership, rather than a group that is losing respect and endorses any wingnut that comes along.

  7. ok, "Negative Ned," said at 4:02 pm on September 14th, 2012:

    let’s try this: we said there have been many opportunities, events and meetings SINCE Tampa, at which ANY c.c. member or chair, or regular Republican, could’ve attended, and heard the chair explain when he’d be leaving his state committee seat, and why.. I realize how “in the know” you and fellow bloggers are, but the fact remains, that at least 3 former chairs had pledged by-laws, one claims that munic. chairs approved something, but we’re told the law wants the c.c.’s to adopt them, ok?.. simply a fact…and, yes, there are a few incumbents who have been crying and squealing that they will now have to appear, (as many candidates for all offices had to, in past years and decades), before the c.c., and ASK to be re-nominated: why is that such a problem for some to wrap their psyches around?..again, if they did their jobs well, they will be welcomed back by acclamation, and will face no opposition!..
    it’s just sad there appears to be some lacking in self-confidence, that’s all: and, btw, where do some get off thinking they are in their seats “for life”?.. that was simply the point!..look, these by-laws have been well- circulated to the Directors, and the Chairs: it’s now their turn and job to get them around to their people: several suggestions are already incorporated in there.. and, we’re entitled to have the opinion, (well- noticed and documented, for 3 months now), that there are definitely a few who just unfortunately seem incapable of putting on their “big-girl” and “big-boy” pants, and accept their candidate lost, and that it’s now time to cooperate, and help in the many efforts, to win the next two years’ worth of elections… Sincerely, your friend, Proud- to- be “Run-on Rosie”.

  8. SeeRosieRun on, and on, and on... said at 6:25 pm on September 14th, 2012:


    …propaganda…bad republicans…more propaganda…fall in line…

  9. In the words of said at 10:20 am on September 15th, 2012:

    Jack Nicholson: guess “you can’t handle the truth!”..

  10. Sore loser said at 1:27 pm on September 16th, 2012:

    Just cause someone lost doesn’t mean you have to play nice with the winner. Just saying

  11. Art Gallagher said at 1:32 pm on September 16th, 2012:

    A real sore loser would sit back and smile silently when the winner was about it go running in traffic