Growing criticism of Republican National Committeeman Bill Palatucci using his party position to intimidate a congressional candidate after his law firm landed the other candidate as a client has caused state GOP leaders to postpone an election originally set for Saturday.
The New Jersey Globe first reported that Palatucci’s firm, Gibbons P.C., had landed a $3,000-a-month gig as counsel to Tom Kean, Jr.’s congressional campaign around the same time Palatucci tried to muscle Rosemary Becchi out of the 7th district GOP primary.
Palatucci had announced his bid for re-election last week and took some party leaders by surprise with a decision to move the election up from June to March to avoid being challenged.
Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt sought to put some positive spin in the announcement, pushing back on the recent Palatucci controversy playing a role in the rescheduling.
“In recognition of past NJGOP practice of holding our National Committee election every fourth June, I have conferred with our National Committee members, Ginny Haines and Bill Palatucci, and we agree collectively to honor past practice and hold the election at our June 2020 State Committee meeting,” Steinhardt said in an e-mail to party leaders. “This is procedurally consistent with State Party precedent and in direct response to inquiries received solely about the election’s early scheduling.”
Palatucci’s firm, which largely gives to Democratic candidates, has billed Kean for Congress more than $21,000 through December 2019.
In 2016, Palatucci unsuccessfully sought to dump Haines from her post and replace her with Darlene Shotmeyer.
This time, Palatucci is running with Haines.