BERNARDSVILLE NJ - In 2016, the Bernardsville Republicans will see some change in personnel without the growing pains that often accompany such change. There will be six new Republican committee members when the committee re-organizes after the June 7, primary, and one new candidate for borough council.
Incumbent Janet Waite decided not to seek another three-year term on the borough council. On Feb. 25, the committee met to consider candidates for council. Planning board member Mike Sullivan appeared before the committee seeking its endorsement, as did incumbent Councilman Chris Schmidt. The committee endorsed both Sullivan and Schmidt.
The Bernardsville Republicans have been known to have some all-out electoral battles in the Republican primary. "When a primary approaches, we always prepare for a contest," said Bernardsville Republican Chair A.Q. "Skip" Orza. "We were ready for a contested primary, but none materialized."
Orza has chaired the Bernardsville Republicans since 2006, when he came onto the committee in a wave of change. That year, there were contested races for all 14 Republican committee seats. Orza ran with a slate of candidates that was affiliated with Lee Honecker, who was seeking his first term as mayor. Honecker won the primary in a landslide. The committee candidates won control of the Bernardsville Republican Committee.
Since then, there have been constested primaries for borough council and Republican Committee in 2012 and 2014, according to Orza.
When asked why he thought that no one ran against the committee-endorsed candidates, Orza opined, "We've been functioning well, and have done a good job of winning elections against a very active Democrat Party. We have some excellent candidates on the ballot this year."
"We are organized and ready to win again this fall," continued Orza. "We can win because we continue to get the best bang for the buck for Bernardsville taxpayers."
Sulivan and Schmidt will face Democrats Christine Zamarra and Matt Morino in November.