Peter Murphy was elected Passaic County Republican Chairman Tuesday night, returning to the post he and his father held for many years until leaving in 2001.
The incumbent, John Traier, did not seek re-election, and Murphy was elected by acclamation.
Murphy, who ran the party in the days when Republicans had complete control of government, gave up his post seventeen years ago after being charged in a kickback scheme. His conviction was eventually overturned by the 3rd Circuit and he later pled guilty to a single count of mail fraud in exchange for not going through a second trial.
He remained a substantial force in Passaic County politics. He built a political machine as the Totowa Republican Municipal Chairman, controls the party’s executive committee – which determines which candidate gets the organization line in Passaic – and he has a staunch ally in State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), who has a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and senatorial courtesy over all Passaic County gubernatorial nominations.
His return to the county chairmanship had been blocked by a rule that convicted felons cannot hold party office. In February, the GOP repealed that impediment to his return.