Clinton Township Republicans play hardball
Who should have the ‘regular Republican’ line?

Hunterdon Review

By DEB DAWSON, Acting Editor
Published: Apr 22nd, 10:14 AM

CLINTON TWP. – It’s hard to tell where the buck stops for political shenanigans by the Republican Committee in District 10 here.

Darin Vogel, who is the municipal chair of the committee moved his residence from District 9 to District 10 in November 2009.

According to the New Jersey statute on elections, “when a member of a municipal committee ceases to be a resident of the district from which elected, a vacancy on the committee shall exist… a vacancy… shall be filled for the unexpired term by the remaining members of the committee in the municipality in which the vacancy occurs.”

Based on the statute, Vogel should have stepped aside, but he did not resign his post in District 9 or as municipal chair because, “I did buy a house in District 10, however I have not sold my house in District 9… as discussed with the county chairman, Mr. Henry Kuhl some time ago, upon selling the house I would resign the seat. I intend to do this… the position of municipal chair, which I currently hold, does not require being a committee member. The county chaiman indicated to me his preference, for continuity sake, that I continue in that role until the election which is a little more than six weeks away.”

Kuhl is out of the country and unavailable for comment. Christine Yates, vice chair of the Hunterdon County Republican Committee said, “You can only have one legal residence. The county committee pretty much follows election law. It’s where your residency is.”

Mary Beth Hurford, deputy county clerk said, “You have to be a county committee member to be a municipal chair. The municipal chair is the chair of the county committee members” in a given municipality.

According to Yates, the municipal chair “decides which people running for county committee get the ‘regular Republican line’ along with the freeholder candidates,” and the party slogan “Hunterdon County Regular Republican Organization.”

Vogel, who is now running in District 10, designated himself and his running mate, Lisa Maul as the candidates to run on the regular Republican line.

The four-year incumbents, Carol Nemetz and her husband, former Township Councilman Steven Krommenhoek are outraged.

Nemetz said, “He’s worked with Henry Kuhl to kick my husband and I off the party line. I got an email from Henry saying the chairman of the Clinton Township Committee chose himself…We’re supposed to meet (as a committee) and recommend who gets the line, but Henry can over ride that because he owns the slogan and is the campaign manager of the top guys on the line,” in this case Rep. Leonard Lance and Freeholders William Mennen, George Melick and Rob Walton, plus county sheriff’s candidate James Paganessi.

In fact, Kuhl’s email said, “Apparently someone else has already filled the slot in your district. This was done according to the president of the Clinton Township Club.”

Vogel said, “Headquarters requested in writing all those interested to contact them early on (at least a month before) and to submit the request for slogan to Headquarters. Neither Carol nor Steve, from what I know, let headquarters, Henry or I know that they intended to run or request the slogan. Procedures were laid out for proper planning and I assume they requested the slogan of Henry at the very last minute.”

Nemetz and Krommenhoek hand-delivered a letter to Kuhl and Yates on Thursday, April 8, requesting the line and slogan. Yates confirmed its receipt and said, “I asked (Kuhl) about it on the ninth. He said he’s going to do what the municipal chair said.”

Antje Doyle, vice chair of the Clinton Township Republican Committee is also out of the county and unavailable for comment.

Former Clinton Township mayor Nick Corcodilos has requested Clinton Township Clerk Donna Burham to notify the Hunterdon County Republican Committee to tell Vogel to “immediately relinquish his seat on the committee and his position as chairman because he is in violation of R.S. 19:5-2,” the statute previously quoted.

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