From 1996 to 2000, I was the County Chairman of the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee. And during that time, the Republican chair in the county was [and still is] Henry Kuhl. There was a Republican governor in Trenton, and Kuhl wielded a great deal of power. Maybe too much. The same thing can be said for the county chairs today.
For some background, from this week’s New York Times:
“CONVENTIONAL wisdom says that most elections in New Jersey are decided in the primary, because most districts are drawn so that the dominant party doesn’t have to break a financial sweat in the general election. But in practice, the primary is often a fait accompli, too, because the real drama occurs at the county political conventions, thanks to the influence of county political bosses.”
“State Senator Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Bergen County...introduced a bill last week that would open up the process by which county parties operate. [Bill sponsors] have complained that the process is rife with back-room deals and is dominated by men.”
And finally, “Under the bill, the parties would be required to adopt constitutions and bylaws; use voting machines when committee members fill vacancies in the Legislature; and keep an updated list of committee members on file with the county clerk….The bill, called the Party Democracy Act…is intended to muzzle county political chairmen, who have long been perceived to wield an inordinate amount of power in picking candidates for local, county and statewide offices.”
Senator Loretta Weinberg has always been a force for good government in the state legislature. Her recent run-in with Bergen County Democratic Chair Joe Ferriero compelled her to be a strong advocate for county level political party reform.
And for her strong advocacy of this type of good government reform, Senator Weinberg is the Mensch of the Week this week at New Jersey Politics Unusual.
Governor Mike Huckabee has been surging in the polls in Iowa, appealing to the Christian Evangelicals, who have finally made up their mind on a candidate. His plain folksy manner, his sense of humor, his use of biblical references to rationalize his political positions----have been giving ulcers to those Republican candidates who have outspent him in the state.
But Huckabee is not all that he seems. From a previous post here:
Huckabee indicated that he does not believe in evolution during a GOP primary debate.
Huckabee said it is imperative to “take this nation back for Christ.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/8/98]While Rudy, McCain and Romney appear to be somewhat rational, Huckabee has proven to be the latest scary Republican.
Huckabee called legal abortion a “holocaust.” Huckabee told the Family Research Council: "It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our workforce had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973." [CNN, 10/21/07]
On Huckabee’s campaign website, he says that religion “drives” his decisions and that he does not separate religion from his professional life. Additionally, Huckabee pledges on his website that, as President, he would “staff all relevant positions with pro-life appointees.” Huckabee also says that his efforts in Arkansas to infringe on a woman’s right to choose “are the accomplishments that give him the most pride and personal satisfaction.”
Huckabee “joked” that he lost weight because Democrats put him in a concentration camp. "I have just come from six weeks at a concentration camp held by the Democrat party of Arkansas in an undisclosed location, making a hostage tape. That's why I look that way,” he said. [Arkansas Times, 10/6/06
For giving Huckabee a ‘surge’ just three weeks out from the Iowa caucuses, the Putz of the Week goes to the voters of Iowa. Just what are they thinking?