We knew there would be fallout from Governor Christie’s surprise endorsement of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
A rift appears to be opening up between Christie and powerful Ocean County GOP Boss George Gilmore. GOP sources tell OCP that top county power players were taken aback by the Christie endorsement, as Trump’s anti-establishment message has resonated with much of the “rank and file” Republican base in Ocean County, but has left local elected officials that are a part of that same establishment biting their nails in fear.
Caught in the crossfire is newly appointed Ocean County Freeholder Virginia “Ginny” Haines. Haines, a longtime Gilmore lieutenant, who was recently appointed to fill the vacant seat of Jim Lacey on the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
The freeholder also occupies the post of Republican National Committeewoman, representing New Jersey to the RNC. According to a report from right-leaning Save Jersey, Christie and his camp will not be backing her for re-election to her position with the RNC. Instead, Christie will reportedly throw his weight behind challenger Darlene Shotmeyer, current a current state GOP committeewoman and wife of Bergen GOP bigwig Chuck Shotmeyer.
In a new twist Thursday, members of Congress including Frank LoBiondo (CD2), Tom MacArthur (CD3) and Chris Smith (CD4) all have came out backing Haines, siding with the GOP chairman over the governor and endorsing Haines for re-election to the RNC.
After delivering Christie votes and volunteers in Ocean County through both of his campaigns in addition to providing steady financial support through the OC GOP’s network of donors, Gilmore & Christie have moved in lockstep since he was first elected.
Could this be a sign of more to come from Christie?
Ocean County officials have been waiting for the governor to appoint Freeholder Jack Kelly to the State Parole Board after he failed to be confirmed last time around. GOP sources could not confirm what move Christie will take, however in light of these circumstances it now appears unlikely, which would appear to derail the ambitions of Lacey Township Mayor Gary Quinn to succeed Kelly as freeholder, should Christie not successfully appoint Kelly to the board.