Saturday, February 12, 2005

Candidate claims endorsement process is a sham

Bob Schroeder has decided not to pursue the Burlington County Republican Party's endorsement.

Robert Schroeder, a wealthy businessman from Bergen County, this week alleged that the outcome of the screening committee's meeting is predetermined.
County Republican leadership has already decided to support Douglas Forrester for governor, a Schroeder spokesman asserted.
Citing "word of mouth" and "very reliable information," Schroeder spokesman Brock McCleary alleged that Forrester has struck a deal with Burlington County GOP Chairman Mike Warner to win the coveted endorsement from one of the state's most powerful Republican organizations.
"I don't want to allege anything nefarious about it, but it's been rumored and reported for days," McCleary said.
The endorsement committee is meeting today (February 12th) at the Riverton Country Club, and will give each candidate 20 minutes to present their cases. Forrester, Schundler, Murphy, an Lonegan will each attend the meeting. Burlington County Republicans have denied Schroeder's allegation.
"Many of our folks have expressed sentiment for endorsing Mr. Forrester," [county GOP executive director Sean] Kennedy said in a prepared statement. "But the fact is chairman Warner has not made any deal to award the (endorsement) to Forrester and Doug is not the only candidate that has impressed our organization."

Schroeder has a press release here. His spokesman, Mark Vogel, says
“I urge all Republicans to demand a democratic procedure where rank-and-file Republican County Committee members are not excluded and robbed of the opportunity to vote for the gubernatorial candidate of their choice.”
By bowing out, it would appear that Schroeder is effectively quitting the race. Each county GOP has the right to decide not only to whom, but how it will give its endorsements. Schroeder apparently believes that he should dictate process to the counties -- not a good sign from one who would be Governor.

Interestingly, Paul DiGaetano has also canceled his appearance, without comment from his campaign. I asked a few days ago whether he was still in the race, and I think this answers the question.