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Former Hunterdon County Democratic Chairman Michael Gold

Mike Gold, Hunterdon Dem chairman in 1970s, dies

Democrats won control of freeholder board, Senate and congressional seats, during his tenure

By David Wildstein, January 06 2019 10:41 am

Michael Gold, who served as the Hunterdon County Democratic Chairman from 1972 to 1978, died of cancer last year in California, where he was living in retirement.  He was 82.

Gold was the Democratic candidate for Hunterdon County freeholder in 1967, seeking the open seat of Roy Peet, who was stepping down after one term.  He lost to longtime county treasurer Kenneth Myers by more than 6,000 votes.

Gov. Richard Hughes appointed him to serve as an assistant Hunterdon County Prosecutor in 1968.

He was elected county chairman in 1972, defeating Bruce Blumberg by a vote of 33 to 26.

Gold initially enjoyed tremendous success as county chairman.

Democrats took control of the Hunterdon County Board of Freeholders in 1973, with Benjamin Kirkland and Bernard Rabb winning two seats.  Another Democrat, Anne Martindell, defeated GOP incumbent Bill Schluter to represent Hunterdon in the New Jersey State Senate.

He initially supported RIchard J. Coffee for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1973, after Coffee dropped out, he became one of the first county chairmen to endorse Brendan Byrne.

In 1974, Democrat Helen Meyner unseated Rep. Joseph Maraziti to represent Hunterdon County in Congress.

Gold became in issue during the 1977 gubernatorial campaign when Republican Raymond Bateman slammed Byrne for naming Gold to conduct a study on auto insurance for the administration at a rate of $250-per-day.  

In 1978, Gold endorsed Byrne’s choice, State Treasurer Richard Leone, for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.  Leone lost the primary to Bill Bradley, who carried Hunterdon County.

He did not seek re-election as county chairman in 1978.  

Gold was widely viewed as the front-runner for Hunterdon County Prosecutor in 1979, after Oscar Rittenhouse was killed in a plane crash.  Byrne instead nominated William Palleria to the post.

Gold helped ally Joan Haberle win a contested race for Hunterdon County Democratic Chair in 1979.

After a series of legal issues, Gold moved to California in 1980.

Gold passed away on January 30, 2018 after a battle with cancer.  His family announced his death this week.

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