I ran in to Hunterdon County Republican Chairman Henry Kuhl the other day, and we started chatting, as we will from time to time, about the 7th Congressional District race. The Republican have not been short of candidates there---there are seven –count’em---seven, at this time. Senator Leonard Lance seems to lead the pack, if there can be a leader in a pack of seven.
However, the Republicans have had a tougher time getting candidates in the race for United States Senate. Folks have been coming and going so quickly in that race. And some, like Andy Unanue, was gone before he came.
So, former Congressman Dick Zimmer was recruited to get in to the race. Zimmer lives in Delaware Township in Hunterdon County.
The last time Zimmer ran, he lost in a squeaker to Rush Holt in 2000. Before that, he lost the Senate race to Robert Torricelli in 1996. So, the last time he won a race --any race—he ran for Congress for the 3rd time against an unknown Democratic candidate, Joe Youssouf whom he beat by more than two to one. That was in 1994.
So, one would think that Zimmer could easily get the all-important-party line in his home county. Not a chance. The Hunterdon Republicans already endorsed Joe Pennacchio, giving him the line. But Kuhl called a meeting and reposed the question.
Last week both Pennacchio and Zimmer went before a special meeting of the Hunterdon County Republican Committee, to re-give the line to Zimmer. Problem was, Zimmer lost 34-30. So, Pennacchio won the line twice.
Chairman Kuhl’s answer: “He did not get his people there.” Certainly one would think that Zimmer knows more people than Pennacchio in Hunterdon. But, apparently, they were all ‘busy’ that night.
Zimmer has a long way to go to November, if he cannot win in his own county. He still must beat Prof. Murray Sabin and Joe "Nationalist Agenda" Pennacchio.