TRENTON-New Jersey Republican Chairman Dough Steinhardt is celebrating together this week with many different, at one time competing factions within the state’s Republican organization after taking a new approach to state politics.
Steinhardt calls the new GOP strategy, “Trickle Up” politics. In the past, the oftentimes heavy-handed GOP power structure ran campaigns with a top-down approach. After suffering two years of losses with that philosophy, Steinhardt embraced a new path in 2019 that led to his party flipping four seats in the general assembly and one senate seat.
He said the past twelve months have been grueling as he traveled far and wide across the state, meeting with any Republican and conservative group that wanted to get on board with his new approach. Instead of coming to town saying, “We are the GOP and here’s what we expect”, Steinhardt instead listened and supported campaign strategies designed at the local level.
Steinhardt didn’t take much credit himself for the win saying all he did was offer his support locally and stood behind many strong conservative candidates and let them do it their way.
“One of the brandings we came up with for this year is the ‘Murphy Midterms’ and making this year all about how we are going to stand up against the bad policies of Governor Murphy,” Steinhardt said.
Flipping the entire assembly was never the plan, but taking gains where possible was. In the end, the election saw the Democrat dominance of the assembly fall from 54-26 to 50-30, closing the gap and laying out a plan to take more seats in 2022.
He also said the campaign slogan of “Stop Phil Murphy“, the 2018 slogan crafted by Shore News Network, New Jersey’s largest conservative media news service was an underlying theme in nearly every victorious campaign in the state.
“Those who embraced the trickle-up strategy won,” he said. Steinhardt said he intends to take that momentum into the 2020 Trump election.
“It was an all-hands-on-deck campaign,” he added.
Steinhardt gave nearly all of the credit to the candidates and solid teams behind those candidates as well as a strong grassroots effort statewide, despite being at virtually every GOP event statewide that he could possibly attend over the past year.
In a last-minute push for Republican voters, U.S. Senate candidate Hirsh Singh teamed up with former New Jersey Governor Candidate Joseph Rullo and pushed out the “Stop Phil Murphy” message to urge Republicans to vote for their party candidates to defeat Murphy’s minions across the state. Singh spent thousands of dollars from his own political campaign in the weeks before the election to support New Jersey assembly and senate candidates, paying for a “GOTV” message that reached a quarter of a million voters in the days before the election.
Rullo worked tirelessly utilizing the largest conservative social media platform in New Jersey, his own, to push the “Stop Phil Murphy” message and to support Republican candidates up and down the ticket statewide. Rullo has become New Jersey’s largest conservative media icon, reaching millions of people each week on his page.
Strong conservative candidates such as those who were victorious did most of the heavy lifting, promoting conservative value platforms in a blue dominated state. The gamble paid off.
Newly-elected New Jersey State Senator Michael Testa credited the switch from the middle of the line candidates to candidates with a strong Republican and conservative platform.
“You don’t beat vanilla with French vanilla…you beat it with chocolate,” he said.
Testa’s LD-1 team that included assembly candidates Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan that could set the table to remove Democrat Congressman Jeff Van Drew in 2020.
In Sussex County’s LD-24, Parker Space and Hal Wirths easily defeated their opponents by pledging their effort to stop Phil Murphy’s reckless agenda that is damaging the state. The pair stood strong against Murphy’s sanctuary state agenda and promoted a pro-business agenda for their district, calling for a Highlands Enterprise Zone to provide a tax incentive to spur the economy in the northwest corner of the state.
Former U.S. Navy Seal Ryan Peters stood firm to his conservative base and saw returns on that commitment, winning his re-election bid.
In District 21, a tough fight was won for John Bramnick and Nancy Munoz despite a conservative independent ticket on the ballot.
“Let’s get New Jersey back to the state we can all be proud to live in — and can afford to live in,” Munoz said after the victory.
Some of the unsung heroes in the election were Anthony Collandro, whose strong support for pro-2a candidates statewide had an impact on getting the message out to gun owners statewide. John Carmen and his Constitutional Republicans pushed hard to get out the vote in support of Testa and others statewide. This year, there was overwhelming support from Republican women’s groups including New Jersey Women for Donald Trump and the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women.
The Recall Governor Phil Murphy campaign also made huge strides in getting the message out all year long about the governor’s reckless policies. That campaign online is managed by a team of backroom conservatives doing some heavy lifting including Terry Beck, Joe Rullo, Hirsh Singh, Shore News Network editor Phil Stilton, Martin B. Welzmuller, Savas Savidis, Sandy Hickerson, Tristin Harvey Goode and Jenna Evans.
In 2019, all came together to Make NJ Red Again.