Trump factor in NJ — and the real losers on Election Night 2022 (Opinion)
It looks like the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, is going to run again in 2024. The click-bait news media is already on the case trying to discredit his attempt by repeating a false narrative. The reality is that Trump was far more a positive factor in the recent midterms than a negative.
First of all, most of the candidates he endorsed won. If you dig deep into the actual results, 140 House candidates and 17 U.S. Senate candidates endorsed by Trump were elected or re-elected on Tuesday.
This is a victory by anyone's standards if you're being honest and leaving the agenda behind.
Beyond that, looking at the results in New York where the GOP flipped four House seats including defeating powerful U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, it was a better night for Republicans than the news reported.
Even Lee Zeldin, who trailed huge for most of the campaign against the incumbent governor, nearly won and had the backing of Trump, never apologizing for the 45th president. In fact, he held him up as a model during the debates.
I addressed some of the flack the former president is getting in an early morning rant on the show.
You can be critical of the former president in honest conversation as I have been in the past. That doesn't mean he's to blame for everything that goes wrong in the Republican Party.
In New Jersey, we saw a huge win from Trump-endorsed former Democrat-turned-Trump Republican Congressman Jeff Van Drew. But then, proving my point that Trump was a positive or not a factor, Congressman Chris Smith won big despite the former president targeting him for defeat.
This proves the point that in NJ, Trump was not a negative and had very little impact on the elections here. Unlike the Red Wave in New York, which saw House seats flipping red and Zeldin outperforming past challengers and coming close despite being an unknown dark horse from the start, NJ only flipped one seat. And that seat, won by Tom Kean Jr., only flipped because the incumbent Democrat was all but abandoned by his party in the redistricting process.
Even then, Kean just squeaked by.
The biggest victories in New Jersey happened despite the state party focusing on one race (Kean) and doing nothing to help build a base of donors and volunteers. Hundreds of brand-new candidates running and WINNING local school board seats across the state speak to the grassroots and very localized effort to retake our state.
We are just getting started. The goal in 2023 is to continue the trend of electing smart, thoughtful parents to local school boards and municipal government.
The parallel goal is to replace the current Democratic majority in the state Senate where we only need to flip five seats in the upper chamber. This effort includes re-electing Sen. Ed "The Trucker" Durr, who joined me on the show.
Then we set our sights on electing a new governor in 2025. Regardless of who wins the White House in 2024, NJ is poised for a local uprising of common-sense, local candidates. We're taking the state back from those who either pushed for or were silent about lockdowns and mandates that crushed our family businesses, killed thousands of elderly patients, and set our kids back years.
The real losers from Election Night 2022, who are holding back progress in New Jersey, are the "Never-Trump Trio" at the helm of the New Jersey Republican Party. Former GOP nominee for governor Jack Ciattarelli — who lost to unpopular Phil Murphy by 84,000 votes, and refused to stand up for parents, kids, teachers, and first responders — showed his true colors with a racist remark about his own campaign staff, blaming them for being "too white" as the main reason for his loss.
Then there's uber-wealthy former pharma exec Bob Hugin going on an inappropriate rant on Election Night in front of the press, using vulgarity to describe incumbent congresswoman and veteran Mikie Sherrill.
Many of us on both sides of the political aisle have called for him to resign amid this disgraceful conduct.
The third member of the trio that has run the GOP and our state into the ground is insider Bill Palatucci who has certainly benefitted financially from his political maneuverings. These three characters have caused more harm to the GOP than the majority Democrats could ever hope to inflict.
It's time to clean house in New Jersey. Whether you are a backer of the former president or want to see the party and the nation move on, we're on the same page. We need practical thinkers who understand that we must first take back our communities if we are going to turn the state around from decades of corruption, overspending, over-taxation, massive debt, and utter incompetence.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.