If I Could Select the Ideal Ticket from the Potential Candidates, I’d Go With…
For the past few weeks, folks, I have been quietly doing my research on all of the rumored GOP candidates for the 2013 LD1 GOP ticket so that I would be knowledgeable about anyone who ultimately decided to throw their hat in the ring. I like doing my homework.
But I kept my mouth shut because they were just rumors at that point, and since no one chose to step into the spotlight, I decided I wasn’t going to push someone into the spotlight.
Then someone spilled the beans, or perhaps spoke a little too loudly on the chamber trip train ride, and pushed’em all into the spotlight for me! It is now public knowledge that Troy Ferus and Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt are interested in the Senate position, while Sam Fiocchi, Mike Benson, Chris Clancy and Steve Gillian are mulling runs for the Assembly.
Which means now I can put my research to work!
Picking from the pool of those who are rumored to want to run, if I had the power to create the ideal LD1 Republican ticket from the available choices, then here’s what it would look like:
Senate – Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt
First off, I was really impressed with Upper Township’s Adelizzi-Schmidt’s business credentials. Here’s a good article summarizing them. After working in PR at a firm based in Somers Point, NJ, she acquired it and now runs it. Prior to her PR experience, she spent 11 years running the Great American Trolley Co. of North Cape May with her father.
Her business experience provides numerous positives for her prospective run. Her work with private sector businesses in the district across several industries means she has a fantastic ties to the small business community in LD1, a very small business dominated district. Her work with the public sector in shore tourism promotion has garnered her firm three Governor’s Tourism Excellence Awards, a distinction which will be a huge asset in a district with lots of coastline populated by voters worried about how Sandy will impact tourism this summer.
Adelizzi-Schmidt’s PR skills will be invaluable in this campaign, too. Her experience will guarantee that the LD1 GOP ticket will run a modern campaign with technology properly integrated into the process. Looking at how much technology and web consulting she does! It would be impossible for that not to happen. And let’s face it, the PR skill set is very similar to the politician’s skill set. This background would allow Adelizzi-Schmidt to enter the race as fresh political face with the benefit of a refined and polished ability to speak and debate. And to go toe-to-toe with Jeff Van Drew, you need a refined and polished skill set. And I believe that Van Drew would not be able to go toe-to-toe with Adelizzi-Schmidt’s skill set, making her a great top of the ticket candidate.
The only unknown which causes me concern is her ability to fundraise. It is an unknown at this point in time because she hasn’t run before. My gut tells me that between her personal and business contacts, Christie on the top of the ticket, solid running mates, and two supportive county chairs, fundraising will not be a problem. I just can’t move my gut feeling into the realm of fact because I have no history to look at. Doesn’t mean she can’t, though.
Assembly – Sam Fiocchi
I would give my first Assembly spot to Cumberland County Freeholder Sam Fiochhi, who also ran for Assembly in 2011. Fiocchi came within 1,051 votes of beating Assemblyman Matt Milam in 2011. He is well liked in both counties that comprise LD1. Cumberland County elected to him to be a Freeholder in 2010. He got the most votes of the LD1 GOP ticket in Cumberland County in 2011. He won the Assembly vote total in Cape May County in 2011. And since 2011, he has not been on the sidelines, but rather on the frontlines, ensuring that the relationships he forged in 2011 are even stronger in 2013.
Fiocchi knows how to fundraise. He knows how to stump. He is motivated to win. And he is well thought-of throughout the district.
As I pointed out in an earlier piece, part of the key to GOP victory in LD1 is limiting the margin of the Democrat’s victory (if not outright winning) in Cumberland County. Hacing Fiocchi on the ticket is the best way to do that. It’s not a hypothetical, look at the results! Sam Fiocchi came closer to unseating an incumbent Democrat in 2011 than any other GOP candidate in the state! In 2013, Fiocchi can woo Cumberland County voters to vote Republican. Which should make it easy for him to find another 1,052 votes.
Assembly – Steve Gillian
I’d give my second spot to Ocean City’s Steve Gillian. Gillian is the Cape May County State Committeeman and a well known local businessman. His status as State Committeeman means he has political goodwill throughout Cape May county and has some statewide contacts who can help out in the race.
His presence in the race means that there will be two Ocean City Republicans appearing on the ballot to drive up turnout (the second is Marie Hayes, whose name you will find under “Freeholder”). The bigger the turnout in Ocean City, the more votes go to the GOP ticket. And having two popular and well-liked Ocean City residents on the ticket equals lots more votes for the GOP tickets.
Gillian would also add a solid fundraising component to the ticket. In 2011, the ticket was outspent 5-to-1. If that can be halved, the GOP takes Milam’s seat, at the very least. And Gillian has the necessary contacts to help make that happen.