Home>Articles>Ex-Sanders Democrat joins race for GOP Senate nod

Ex-Sanders Democrat joins race for GOP Senate nod

By David Wildstein, January 26 2018 8:11 am

The first candidate to enter the Republican U.S. Senate primary is Dana Wefer, a 35-year-old progressive activist and onetime Bernie Sanders supporter who became a Republican last year after saying political bosses broke her party by anointing Phil Murphy for governor.  She says she’s “not wholly on board with President Trump,” but has come to appreciate some of his views.

Wefer, who served in Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s administration as Chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority, will run on an anti-corruption platform against incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez.  The Department of Justice announced last week that they would re-try Menendez on corruption charges.

Wefer first started running for office at age 22, when she launched an impressive but unsuccessful bid for Morris County Freeholder.  She ran against Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) the next year.

After law school, she moved to Hoboken and became involved in local politics there.  She lost her 2015 campaign for City Council.

Weber said Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were not “paragons of virtue.

“Donald Trump won because he was promising to disrupt the whole system.  If the Democrats don’t like it, the answer is to nominate better people, talk about the issues that matter to people, and stop rigging elections,” Wefer said.

“I think that because my political activism has always been focused on government reform, Donald Trump’s election to the presidency affected me differently than it did most other Democrats,” Wefer said. Saying the election “popped her bubble.”

“It changed my whole worldview,” Wefer, an attorney with an office in Englewood.  “Someone who terrified me being elected president made me appreciate the importance of smaller and more limited government.  It made me more conservative.”

Wefer said she strongly disagrees with Trump on issues like of off-shore drilling.

“At the end of the day, these are policy disagreements and we should be able to discuss them and things like immigration, tax policy, and the role of government without hysteria.”

Wefer said that she came to realize that much of what she saw and read had distorted her understanding of reality, pointing to credible news outlets running stories about Trump that she viewed as unfair.

“At the time it terrified me,” Wefer explained.  “Now it makes me angry, because it’s such a transparent lie. I feel manipulated.”

Wefer is critical of her former party.

“You have to be completely onboard with the party orthodoxy you’re deemed a racist or a bigot by the party’s base,” she said. “It got to a point where I was afraid to express my views to Democrats.  It’s a very unhealthy place for a political party to be. In addition, they’re supremely corrupt.”

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4 thoughts on “Ex-Sanders Democrat joins race for GOP Senate nod

  1. The first candidate to enter the Republican U.S. Senate primary is not Dana Wefer, but Richard Pezzullo who registered his campaign committee with the FEC in September and announced his candidacy at the League of Municipalities Conention in November. His filings are available at the FEC website. He is currently on a 21 county tour meeting with supporters and county chairs.

    Pezzullo 59, has been a business consultant in New Jersey for twenty years. A graduate of Cornell University and a Major in the US Army Reserve, he has served over the course of 20 years at installations in the US and overseas. In the 2014 Primary Election for US Senate, Pezzullo garnered the endorsements of Tea Party, School Choice and 2nd Amendment supporters across the state. After a defeat by narrow margin and conceding the election to Jeff Bell, Pezzullo went on to be co-chairman of the Bell for Senate campaign and proxied for Jeff Bell across the state.
    Pezzullo has served as an employee or board member of non-profit organizations for over 30 years. He started a grassroots effort in 1987 to combat the proposed doubling of the parkway tolls, traveling up and down the state for months, conducting an independent audit of the annual reports of the NJ Highway Authority, and taking an active part in Authority board meetings for several years.
    Pezzullo was an outspoken opponent of the sale of the Garden State Arts Center and other venues. He also worked closely with local organizations to call for the elimination of MTBE (a cancer causing additive) in gasoline. In 1997 he worked with the grassroots organization that sprang up to compel action to stem the outrageous increases in the cost of automobile insurance. He has worked for welfare reform, insurance reform and health care reform. Working with the United Taxpayers of New Jersey, he advocated for fiscal reform within Trenton and among the quasi-public authorities across the state. He’s fought gas tax increases, the state house renovation boondoggle, and pension funding reform. He’s called for more accountability in school budgeting, resisted the $2.75 billion bond debt that was squandered in the stock market and worked to stop the proposed Newark sports arena.
    Educated as a business manager and computer systems specialist, Rich earned his BS from Cornell in 1980. He has delivered results by helping government, non-profit and corporate organizations save money through effective management and technological innovation. He is an accomplished speaker, traveling the country to share his knowledge and motivate audiences. A former EMT, Pezzullo served with ambulance squads, started the emergency medical rescue squad while a student at Cornell, and has considerable experience at military and civilian facilities in computer system integration and business management. He has worked as a janitor, dishwasher, salesman and business owner. He can handle a floor buffer, hare splint, M-60 and 12 gauge, SQL and squeegee.

    His work with business owners has given him a unique perspective of the damage being done by over-regulation to business activities that affect every facet of life in New Jersey.
    Pezzullo was born in the Bronx, grew up in New Milford, and graduated from New York Military Academy and Cornell. He settled in Freehold in 1992, where he lives with his wife, Pam and three children. Rich served as the Community Outreach Chairman of the Community Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse in Freehold. http://twp.freehold.nj.us/alliance-to-prevent-substance-abuse_
    He also serves as a leader in Boy Scout Troop 155 in Freehold and as a Lector in his local parish. He is a member of the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus. He was a founding sponsor of Camp Quality NJ (summer camp for kids with cancer http://www.campqualityusa.org/nj/Home.aspx) and Sylvia’s Children – . http://www.sylviaschildren.org, (building schools and clinics for orphans in Uganda). He is an active supporter of UJA Federations, Jewish Family and Community Services, Big Brother and Big Sisters as well as the Sunrise Optimist Club of Freehold.

  2. Just what we need, another Anti American Socialist who believes in Government Control by Socialist Bureaucrats instead of Individual Freedom and Liberty through Limited Government as provided by our Constitution. These REGRESSIVES want to go back to the days when people were ruled and had to do what they were told by their government. Our American Revolution freed us from the dictatorship of Kings, Emperors, Shahs, and Bureaucrats. Socialism IS Communism that’s why the Communist Russians named their nation the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Socialism is a Totalitarian form of government that dictates what you may learn, say, do, and where you may live, what you may earn and where you will be allowed to go. Our children are being misled in our schools and universities and our freedom is being undermined and stolen by the Regressive National Socialist Democrat Party. Left Wing Educators have taught that the NAZI’s were right wingers but here is the truth: (German: Nationalsozialismus) Na·zi noun 1. historical, a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

  3. It will take a Republican with some unothedoxie to win a senate seat in our overwhelming blue state. Let’s give each candidate a fair hearing before we rule against them.

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