Fran Grenier, whose bid to unseat Senate President Steve Sweeney triggered what may be the most expensive legislative race in American history, has resigned as Salem County Republican Chairman.
Republicans are expected to pick a new county chairman at the March 10 convention. Former Pittsgrove Mayor Linda DuBois, the party vice chair and now the acting county chair, says she wants to keep the job. So far, she has no announced rivals.
Grenier said he made the decision on his own and was not forced out by party leaders. He left office at the beginning of February, but there was no announcement of his resignation and no media coverage of his departure.
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) spent nearly $5 million to help Grenier defeat Sweeney last year. Grenier received just 41% of the vote – the weakest showing by any Republican against Sweeney.
Republicans lost one freeholder seat in the November general election when a GOP incumbent was defeated. They lost control of the board in late December when Freeholder Melissa DeCastro switched to the Democratic party – in a move rumored to have been engineered by Sweeny as payback to Grenier.
DeCastro and Republican Freeholder Benjamin Laury are up for re-election this year in a contest that will determine control of the Board of Freeholders.
Salem is New Jersey’s smallest county, with a population about the size of Old Bridge.
PoliticsDW.com first reported speculation that Grenier might resign on January 4.