About 900 people showed up at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City Monday night for the 2015 Statewide Republican Event that State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick organized. A bit less than the 1,000 people who’d signed up. But still not bad, in light of the fact that the weather didn’t exactly cooperate.
In an interview prior to the event, Bramnick said that he envisioned it as a kind of a combination party and campaign rally to kick off the coming campaign season.
He acknowledged that it might seem a bit early to be talking about the November elections, during which every seat in the Assembly is up for grabs. But he said unseating the Democratic majority after nearly a decade-and-a-half is going to take some elbow grease, and he wants Republicans statewide to get an early start. “The point is to bring Republicans together in an effort to change the legislature,” Bramnick said.
New Jersey AssemblyDemocrats 48Republicans 32
New Jersey SenateDemocrats 24Republicans 16
Primary Election is June 2, 2015
General Election is November 3, 2015
Bramnick dismissed any suggestion that rifts in the Republican Party might be a factor. He said it all comes down the New Jersey’s legislative district map, which the state Apportionment Commission redraws every 10 years after the census. And the map of the 40 legislative districts is currently gerrymandered in such a way as to benefit the Democrats, he said. Still, Bramnick doesn’t consider the situation to be hopeless. “If it was a foregone conclusion, I wouldn’t be having a rally,” he said.
As far as Bramnick is concerned, it’s simply a matter of making people aware of the facts. Such as New Jersey’s status as the state with the highest property tax rates. Or a United Van Lines survey that suggests on proportional basis more people think about moving out of New Jersey than any other state.
“The state has become one of the worst environments in the country to do business, Bramnick said. “They (Democrats) had their chance.”
And yes, Bramnick said the selection of Atlantic City was deliberate, as a way of showing support for the ailing resort city.
The event included a roster of guest speakers including former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, memorabilia from Republican organizations and music by “The R&B Show.”
“This is the event of the century for Republicans,” Bramnick said.
He said he hadn’t yet decided whether to make it an annual event.
Bramnick also declined to say whether there’s any substance to talk that he might be a candidate for governor in 2017.
“I’ll deal with 2017 in 2016,” he said. “But right now, I have to worry about 2015 and getting re-elected.”
Jon Bramnic represents the 21st legislative district in New Jersey. (Morris, Somerset and Union counties) Berkeley Heights, Bernards, Chatham Borough, Cranford, Far Hills, Garwood, Kenilworth, Long Hill, Mountainside, New Providence, Roselle Park, Springfield (Union), Summit, Warren, Watchung, Westfield
This post is part of our South Jersey Politics Blog