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Former Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Gregg Mele. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Gregg Mele explains why he didn’t get on the ballot for Conrgess

By Gregg Mele, April 20 2022 12:32 am

OPINION

While I take full responsibility for not obtaining enough valid signatures for the ballot, it was my first primary, and a level of complexity I hadn’t dealt with before made it difficult.

With the restriction of only being able to obtain valid signatures from registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters, we had what we were told was the most recent list we could obtain and only went to homes where it indicated voters in those two categories, but, when we met the people, almost half said they were registered Democrats, so of course we didn’t take those signatures.

After the list proved to appear pretty useless, we figured people would know how they were registered, so we went by their assertions, and only took signatures from people who were absolutely certain that they were in one of the two permissible categories, but it turned out many of them, who were staunch lifelong Republicans, didn’t know they had been registered as Democrats somewhere along the way.

In short, we tried to do the right thing, but the live, current list, which we could not gain access to during the signature collection period, was the determining factor, cut-and-dry, regardless of the confusion. It was a shame, because, unlike the others who did not make the ballot, who did not campaign and came in at the last minute with petitions out of nowhere, we had been campaigning regularly, heavily, and legitimately since December, before anyone else joined the race in CD-6.

I was heavily recruited, after last year’s effort, regardless of the final numbers (I made over 100 campaign stops last year, compared to the average 6 for a 3rd-party candidate at the time). People said, “Imagine what someone with his energy could do with the support of a major party.” Also, being far more conservative than Jack was, I received many thanks for forcing him to move more to the right than he would have been otherwise, and as he was when it was a 12-15 point gap earlier on I’m the race. Rejoining my lifelong party was wonderful, and I have a base of support going forward that is staying with me for the duration.

It’s too bad that the legitimacy of campaigns cannot be measured by the effort, especially since there would still be minimal total candidates to accommodate on ballots and other things, but the silver lining, since my supporters are upset about being disenfranchised, is that, since being removed from the ballot, my fundraising, now for 2024, has increased, a key sign that the voters want me back, while there has been a lot of backlash against “RINO-Rik” for bothering to remove the only true America First candidate for the people to choose in CD-6, after crashing many of my earlier events out of fear that I was polling higher on qualifications and likeability..

In any case, after I spend a little time with family, following 20 straight months of campaigning, I will start again soon and build a bigger war chest for the next time around. I will also make some endorsements for the current races soon. I just wanted to make sure you had a full picture of the situation for me, which I see as very different from the others who did not get on their respective ballots.

After being stonewalled for one of the county conventions, having some of my events disrupted, and then not being given access to current, reliable data for my first primary, where so many more rules apply, I have indeed learned many lessons, which will all be cured and then some next time. As an example, I will verify, on the spot, every signature somehow, and will obtain over 500 signatures, so there is no mistake. By then, I hope to have the war chest needed to field an army of supporters and change the landscape. Thanks for your time. I appreciate the chance to be heard.

Gregg Mele, the 2021 Libertarian candidate for Governor of New Jersey, sought the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 6th district in 2022.  An administrative law judge tossed him from the ballot after he failed to garner the minimum 200 signatures on his nominating petition. 

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