Winners and Losers of Cappola’s LD38 exit

By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog

While it is hard to declare “winners” in the aftermath of what truly a dark day in New Jersey Republican Party history yesterday, Save Jerseyans, would be remiss in our duties to not examine the entire ripple effect that the stunning departure of Anthony Cappola has on the landscape.


Tim Eustace and Joe Lagana (LD38 Democrats)

Let’s first start with the most obvious winners: his opponents. District 38 was certainly far from a lock for the Republicans, but without Cappola on the ballot, even if Republicans manage to go to court to get another candidate on the ballot, the ticket goes into November heavily wounded and it is impossible to see this as anything but a definitive plus for the incumbents.

District 14 and 27 Republicans

If the state determines that 38 has been mortally wounded, that will open a steady flow of cash and perhaps even volunteers to move to other places. While it is likely some if not most of this money will be diverted to Districts 1 and 2, the Republicans need to do something to expand the map. Expect an influx of attention to be given to Tayfun Selen and Q Rim in 27 as well as David Jones in 14. The District 27 camp is already working the phone lines to move volunteers from 38 to their race.

Unknown Candidate for BCRO Chair

More on this below. Bob Yudin was already going to have a battle on his hands to retain his chairmanship in 2016; the BCRO’s failure to properly vet Cappola and discover this book by doing a simple Google search (or finding it and not acting? unclear…) will be another mark against him. Expect it to be a focal point of whoever eventually decides to run against him, and it will be a successful argument.

TBD Replacement and/or 2017 Candidates

In 2017 , Fair Lawn’s Mayor John Cosgrove is a likely and very strong State Senate candidate; maybe he brings back DiPisa for Assembly and if Bergenfield’s Norman Schmelz survives then him, too? For now, possible ballot replacements (if they go that route) could include 2013’s narrow loser Joe Scarpa, Fernando Alonso, John Driscoll, Ed Trawinski or even Rose Heck. More on that later…


Hasbrouck Heights Councilman Russell Lipari (left) and Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz (right) with Mark DiPisa
Hasbrouck Heights Councilman Russell Lipari (left) and Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz (right) with Mark DiPisa

District 38 Republicans

Electoral politics is a cruel game that changes quickly. Overnight, the competitiveness of the race has taken an incredible hit. Mark DiPisa remains as a strong candidate and could still knock out Eustace, but as of now, it is unknown whether Republicans can get a new candidate on the ballot or whether he will be forced to run with Cappola on the ticket and simply have to encourage voters to skip his name. The silver lining? That this “October Surprise” came on October 1st and not later, perhaps giving the ticket enough time to find a replacement and do some damage control.

Bob Yudin

The buck always stops at the top, rightly or wrongly. Ultimately, the BCRO GOP Chairman will shoulder at least a portion of the blame. This Yudin era policy committee has always been controversial in a county where controversy seems to grow on trees. After one election victory countywide since the 2010 sweep, Yudin now needs to scramble fast to eek out a victory this year which is vital to him continuing on as chair past this year.

Team Bramnick

The candidate selection part may not be his fault but this potential gubernatorial contender and his lieutenants wanted something positive coming out of 2015 to hang his hat on. Cappola’s implosion makes that less likely. 

New Jersey

As long as the Democrats control the legislature we all lose, and this certainly makes them more likely to do so this year and perhaps longer. Let this be a lesson to all of us, vetting candidates is important and while we at Save Jersey do our best to do so, the party should always making sure it is doing it, too. This is certainly not a problem unique to 38 and we need to step it up as a party. Or are is the NJ GOP already at the point (or back to the point) where we need to take whatever we can get?


1 thought on “Winners and Losers of Cappola’s LD38 exit

  1. Funny, some years ago I was invited to a NJ Assembly hearing on ethics. A GOP member asked if, as a local chairman, if I vetted candidates that I recruited? I was a smartie pants and told him that I vet myself every so often on the Web.

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