TRENTON, N.J. – Senate and Assembly minority leaders Steve Oroho and John DiMaio warned Wednesday that legislation sponsored by Sen. Vin Gopal to ban county constitutional officers from serving as county party leaders will deal a blow to the electoral process, not prevent conflicts of interest.
“This bill represents naked political partisanship,” said Oroho (R-Sussex). “The people of the State of New Jersey need leaders who will focus on addressing ever-increasing property taxes, declining school aid, and higher energy costs. Legislators should not be playing partisan political games and making unconstitutional power grabs.”
The bill (A5429/S3838) is up for consideration in the Senate and Assembly judiciary committees on Thursday. It targets Monmouth County constitutional officers, including Sheriff Shaun Golden who happens to be a political rival of Gopal, and forces them to resign from either elected public office or party leadership.
“It is a blatant conflict of interest by the Senate sponsor who is the only one who stands to benefit. This legislation is solely about silencing Republican voters so Democrats can keep power in competitive districts prior to election season,” DiMaio (R-Warren) said. “Democrats are weaponizing their legislative privilege for political power. That’s about as corrupt as it can get.”
County political party members elect their chair with an internal vote. The state Constitution authorizes the people of their respective counties to elect county officers.