A Hudson County Republican State Committeeman seeking the county’s GOP chairmanship is facing calls for his resignation after messages in which admitted to emotionally abusing a woman circulated on social media.
“I convinced this one really dumb bird I was totally emotionally abusing that it was her idea to sex in the courtyard, roof, and gym bathroom of my old building,” State Committeeman Joshua Sotomayor Einstein said in the 2018 exchange. “It was my idea. And yes I was a horrid person. I had her thinking we were dating.”
The messages were posted to Facebook by Tia-Lyn Ghione, a former Morris County Young Republicans official.
Einstein did not attempt to deny the allegations, saying only that he “was a jerk to women in the past, 100%.”
“I don’t extoll those times,” he said. “But I admit them.”
The messages, in which Einstein also said he had the woman believing they were dating and “had everyone in our social circle making fun of her” will certainly complicate his bid to oust Hudson County GOP Chairman Jose Arango.
For one, he’s already facing calls for his resignation.
“There’s no room for this type of behavior in any party. Forget about the Republican Party. Republican, Democrat, whatever — women should be respected no matter what,” Arango said. “We can’t tolerate this.”
Ghione echoed the call, adding that she found his apology insincere.
“Josh has done nothing while he holds a leadership position within the Republican Party has done nothing to attempt to right these wrongs by creating or advocating for victims of abuse. His apology, where I’m concerned, falls on deaf ears,” she said. “He’s only apologetic because he got caught being a horrible person.”
In response, Einstein attacked the two, claiming Arango was a “lapdog of the Democrats,” who had done nothing to advance the Republican Party in Hudson, one of the state’s staunchest Democratic strongholds.
He said he has no intention of resigning.
“We have Republicans, unfortunately, in this party that are do-nothings and want to take down people,” he said. “I’m not the first. I won’t be the last, and it’s not going to work.”
While Einstein won election to the state committee seat in an off-the-line bid in 2017, that victory comes with a caveat.
Those seats are filled during primary elections held in gubernatorial years. Republican voters pick one man and woman from each county.
Einstein, running on a line with then-gubernatorial candidate Joseph Rudy Rullo, challenged incumbent State Committeeman Russell Maffei but became the only candidate for the male State Committee seat after a drunk driver struck and killed Maffei and longtime Republican activist Marie Tauro in April 2017 as they were collecting nominating petition signatures for the primary.
The incident left him without any opposition. Arango said that wouldn’t be the case this June.
“I don’t have the authority to basically disqualify him as the state committeeman, but really for sure he’s not going to be running again for committeeman if he doesn’t step down,” he said.
While Arango can’t stop him from seeking the seat, he can give a challenger a sizeable advantage by awarding them the organizational line.
But that dynamic only matters if Einstein loses the race, which he believes is still winnable, charging that the incumbent Republican chairman had problems with women all his own.
“The people know when they look at myself or Arango who the mal actor is. Arango has a history of on-the-record statements diminishing women,” he said.
Arango faced fire in 2013 after comparing SEIU 1199 Executive Vice President Milly Silva, then the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, to his secretary.
“It’s like picking my secretary. She’s a very nice person. The union likes her, but even in the union she’s vice president. She hasn’t been a committeewoman,” he said at the time.
He later released a statement apologizing and saying the comments were targeted at Silva’s political experience and not her gender.
It’s not likely the incident will become an issue in the campaign for chairmanship of the Hudson County Republican Committee, but the same can’t be said of Einstein’s controversial statements.
“I apologize for him because this is bad. I feel I’m surprised. I’m taken aback. I wasn’t expecting anything like this today. I feel bad for whatever woman was insulted here,” Arango said. “I just want to make sure the women and minorities in the community know that Jose Arango doesn’t tolerate that type of abuse.”