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Washington Township (Morris County) Committeeman Gregg Forsbrey. (Photo: Facebook).

Washington township committeeman quits GOP over party leadership squabble

Gregg Forsbrey objects to municipal chairman elected after losing his own county committee seat

By David Wildstein, September 20 2021 8:57 am

Blaming local political conflicts in his Washington Township (Morris County), township committeeman Gregg Forsbrey has left the Republican Party.

Forsbrey’s departure came after Richard Wall was elected GOP municipal chairman by a 12—7 vote overall Joanne Schlesinger despite losing his own county committee seat to Vice Mayor Kenneth William Roehrich in the June 8 Republican primary, 44-32.

“It was stunning to see that two losers who handed their seats away by not bothering to campaign were now suddenly being reward with leadership,” Forsbrey said.  “At that moment for the first time I was embarrassed to be a Republican. I knew that my only recourse to this subversion was to leave the GOP.”

The party also re-elected Township Committeeman John Osborn as vice chair, even though Kenneth Short beat him in his own county committee race, 62-50.

Short is also up for re-election to the township committee this year.  He’s running on a slate with Roehrich.  They have no Democratic opposition.

“After the 2020 election when integrity is more important than ever our local Republican leadership congratulated one another as they manipulated the people’s choice,” Forsbrey stated.  “Only someone who values winning over integrity would think it’s OK to elect the losers to the leadership while worthy candidates who had won their seats were passed over.”

Forsbrey said that three of the conspirators who engineered Wall’s election were sitting township committeeman.

His departure leaves the GOP with a 4-1 majority and Forsbrey becomes a rare independent holding local office in New Jersey in a municipality that holds partisan elections.

“I had to go. Our country is falling apart at the seams because unscrupulous people will not stand for what is right, at least they know that I will not stand with them,” Forsbrey said.
My life you might take, my integrity never.”

Forsbrey, who has been mentioned as a candidate for Morris County Commissioner, is up for re-election in 2022.

Wall had replaced former Assemblyman Guy Gregg, who served as municipal chairman until earlier this year despite having moved to North Carolina nine months earlier.

Records show that Gregg voted in North Carolina in the 2020 presidential election after registering to vote in New Bern on September 19, 2020.

According to the Morris County Clerk’s office, Gregg remains the Republican county committeeman from Washington Township’s 8th district and is still the municipal chairman, even though he lives and votes in North Carolina.

Records show that Gregg sold his home in Washington Township in August 2020.

Gregg did not vote in New Jersey in the last general election and the statewide voter registration system lists him as an inactive registered voter.

Morris County Republicans told the New Jersey Globe that Gregg has not yet resigned as municipal chairman, but because they were aware that he lived in North Carolina, he was not permitted to vote on any party matters – including the Republican county convention.

Gregg said on Monday that he moved to North Carolina in March 2020 and that he resigned his municipal chair post earlier this year.

“I am not the municipal chair and have not been the chair since January,” Gregg told the New Jersey Globe in April.  I guess I was supposed to tell the county clerk as soon as I sold the house.”

According to Gregg, the municipal vice chair has also moved out of Washington Township and that Wall, the treasurer, was acting municipal chair until a new election can be held.

The onetime restauranteur – he owned the Publick House tavern in Chester – briefly sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2002.  He dropped out of the race hours before the filing deadline and instead endorsed Essex County Executive Jim Treffinger to take on incumbent Bob Torricelli.  Treffinger ended his campaign several days later.

Gregg’s career in the legislature ended in 2007 when he lost a bid the Republican primary for State Senate in the 24th district. The longtime incumbent, Robert Littell (R-Franklin), was retiring after 40 years in Trenton.

Steve Oroho (R-Franklin), then a Sussex County freeholder, defeated Gregg by 385 votes, 51%-49%.

Gregg mounted a political comeback in 2018 when he was elected sergeant-at-arms of the Morris County Republican Committee.

 

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