LD21 independent slate files petitions, cites GOP incumbents’ refusal to endorse Trump

CRANFORD, NJ – Jon Bramnick and running mate Nancy Munoz will have to fend off an assault from the right this November even as Democrats press their left flank. 

Martin Marks (of Cranford) and Harris Pappas (Springfield) chose Primary Day to formally file their petitions to run as “Independent Conservatives” in the 2019 general election. According to the pair, the incumbents’ refusal to endorse President Donald Trump in 2020 sealed the deal after months of speculation

“Since announcing our independent candidacies in March, we have received numerous overtures of support from many individuals, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents who are all disgusted with the constant fighting in Trenton.  At the same time we have been urged by those in the Republican establishment who support the status quo to not follow through with our candidacies,” Marks said.  “It all culminated with a meeting at Union County Republican Headquarters on April 30.  At that meeting were Bramnick and Munoz in addition to NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt, NJGOP Executive Director Theresa Winegar, Republican National Committeeman William Palatucci, and District 21 Senator Tom Kean, Jr.  Harry and I would have agreed to suspend our candidacies had Bramnick and Munoz agreed to hold a press conference stating their support for the entire Republican Ticket in both this year’s General Election and the General Election of 2020 led by President Trump.  They flatly refused.”

Marks (left) and Pappas (right)

Bramnick has never been shy about his open criticism of Donald Trump and his electoral impact in New Jersey.

Marks penned a guest column for Save Jersey in May 2016 criticizing the ‘Never Trumper’ movement. 

He and his running mate are open about the possibility of playing a “spoiler” role in 2019, and they’re apparently fine with the notion.

“One of the main premises of our campaign is that Jon Bramnick has been unnecessarily aggressive in attacking a sitting Republican President instead of focusing his energy as Assembly Minority Leader on the destructive tax policies of the most liberal Governor New Jersey has ever dealt with.  Additionally, we believe Bramnick and Munoz have taken for granted and been dismissive of those Republicans in the 21st Legislative District who identify as conservative and Trump supporters.  In light of this, we don’t believe asking Bramnick and Munoz to voice support for the entire GOP ticket in both the 2019 and 2020 General Elections was asking too much.  Now that our petitions have been submitted we intend to proceed with our campaign and raise the funds necessary to be successful in November.”

Marks is a dentist who formerly served as Mayor of Scotch Plains. Pappas, a mortgage broker by trade, sat on Springfield Township Committee from 1992 to 1994.

Bramnick (the GOP Assembly Minority Leader) and Munoz were reelected by slim margins in 2017 in a district that is now approximately 29.5% Democratic and 28.4% Republican.