Michael Lavery has the votes to secure the Republican state chairmanship after Doug Steinhardt resigns, the New Jersey Globe tally of State Committee members.
If he wins, Lavery would serve until the state party reorganizes following the June primary election.
A former GOP state chairman – he held the post from June to November 2017 – Lavery is a strong ally of Steinhardt, who is stepping down to see the GOP nomination for governor.
The NJ Globe tally puts Lavery at 24 votes – two more than the number needed to win the post outright.
That makes it unlikely that any other candidates will emerge to run for the interim position, with commitments to Lavery appearing to block any effort by Steinhardt’s primary opponent,
Lavery’s apparent lock on the special election doesn’t necessarily reflect where organization lines go in the 2021 gubernatorial primary.
State committee members were elected for a four-year term in 2017 and not all of them fall under the auspices of their current county chair.
All 42 state committee members – one male and one female from each county – will be on the ballot in next year’s primary, so this likely be the last time they vote before the new members take office.
The state GOP vice chair, Lynda Pagliughi, will serve as acting state chair. Pagliughi has held that role several other times when Republicans were between state chairmen.