By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog
Sometimes when it rains it pours, Save Jerseyans. For Republicans in LD38, it often feels like a Category 5 hurricane bearing down.
As things continue to get stranger and worse in Northeast Jersey’s most competitive legislative district, a new development out of one of the most Republican towns in LD38 threatens one of the safest local seats. In Hasbrouck Heights, Mayor Rose Heck has announced her intention to run a write-in campaign following a surprise primary loss to retired police officer Jack DeLorenzo. The primary race margin was incredibly thin and Heck does have a tremendous following from her years of dedicated service to the party, the town and the state, but this is not what we need right now.
I do not have to tell anyone that things are not actually peaches and cream in the district as a whole. That being said, the last Republican left standing on the GOP Assembly ticket, Mark DiPisa, remains a strong candidate and needs Republicans as united as possible to have a chance to knock off Tim “Useless,” and while both candidates are strong supporters of his, any distractions only serve to further the Democrats. Since Hasbrouck Heights is where he grew up and the town where his father sits as a councilman, I cannot imagine a town more important to DiPisa for victory.
But while Hasbrouck Heights is a reliably Republican town and DePisa shouldn’t have trouble carrying it, DePisa needs every single extra vote he can muster in this low-turnout cycle, and the Democratic mayoral candidate is the lone elected Democrat on the council, by the way, so the Democrats may smell blood in the water (if they do not already) and push hard to get their candidate elected to take advantage of the division. That push could weaken DiPisa’s Hasbrouck Heights margin by AND could lead to a Democrat winning the mayor’s race.
Hasbrouck Heights is red but it’s not Franklin Lakes; the write-in campaign could sink the DeLorenzo’s candidacy.
What is particularly troubling to me is that Rose Heck is not a renegade; she is a dedicated public servant and a Republican to whom myself and many others look up to as the gold standard of what our party should be about. If she is going to cannibalize the party… where does it end? Ask anyone to make a list of 100 people hurting the Republican Party in Bergen County and until this challenge no one would have included Rose Heck! It’s a sad indictment of the the state of the party in Bergen, Save Jerseyans. To call it absolute chaos may in fact be an understatement.
I respectfully urge Mayor Heck to reconsider.