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Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld and Ron, DeFilippis, right, the Morris County GOP Finance Chairman at a party fundraiser in February at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

Morris GOP nearly broke

High costs of Trump club, Fox News speaker created money-losing fundraiser

By David Wildstein

Morris County Republicans lost money on their winter fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club and have a paltry $13,956 in their warchest, according to a report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

The money-losing event and the low cash-on-hand heading into a potentially competitive general election is expected to be an issue in the June election for Morris County Republican Chairman.  One of the candidates, Ronald DeFilippis, is the Finance Chairman for the county GOP.  He faces Rob Zwigard in a race that has already turned nasty.

The county GOP organization raised $58,335 at an event that cost them more than $64,000.  The spent $24,487 at Trump National and paid Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld $30,000 to speak.  Republicans repaid a $10,000 loan from State Sen. from State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville), but still owe $10,000 to DeFilippis, who loaned the money to help make a down payment on Gutfeld’s appearance.

High cost fundraisers, like a party at Yankee Stadium last year where they spend nearly $5,700 on two ex-Yankee players to make brief appearances, have left Morris without the cash to defend what looks to be a serious challenge from Democrats at the county level this fall.  Last year, Morris Republicans reported raising just $76,218 – a relatively small amount for a county organization that hasn’t lost a freeholder race in 45 years.  According to ELEC reports, much of that was spent on fundraising costs and overhead and not on Republican campaigns.

State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) nearly lost his seat last year, winning just 52% against Democrat Lisa Bhimani.  In 2018, two Morris County congressional seats are in danger of flipping Democratic: the 11th, where Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is retiring, and the 7th, where Rep. Leonard Lance faces a tough re-election campaign.

Three freeholder seats are up this fall, as well as what is becoming an interesting race for county clerk.  Democrats haven’t elected a county clerk since before the Civil War, but a judge’s ruling last week that Republican incumbent Ann Grossi distributed an illegal memorandum showing her failure to understand state election law has made Democrat Shala Gagliardi a real candidate for the seat.

At the February fundraiser, Republicans teased potential donors with the idea that President Trump would attend as a surprise guest – even asking for social security numbers in advance, something that would suggest a presidential appearance. Trump was at Mar-a-Lago and there was little possibility that he would be in New Jersey for President’s Day weekend.

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20 thoughts on “Morris GOP nearly broke

      1. I’ve known Hank for years and this post is not something he would do. This post is from someone else trying to get Hank in trouble. Possibly Freeholder Ludwin?

    1. Hey, it’s the party of Trump and follows his decades old business strategy – IE It bankrupts itself but claims success.

  1. Republican economic policy in a nutshell: Grift from the rubes, kickbacks to your pals, and benefit no one.

  2. I am a Republican and officer on our town Committee. I see Republicans doing a lousy job on all fronts with almost no pushback to a Democratic Party that will dominate New Jersey. Few counties are strong Republican and Morris is rapidly becoming Democrat. How foolish are we to lose money on events to raise money while Democrats find it so easy? Maybe we need better candidates and smarter leaders since it seems we cannibalize each other where a dozen people compete to destroy each other. Democrats are not beating us, Republicans are doing it for them.

    1. Hi John,
      How I wish both parties could be acting differently and it saddens me what is happening to Republican party. For this reason I call myself a Progressive.
      Perhaps we need a whole new fresh system and start over.
      I WISH

  3. Who in their right mind would pay Greg Gutfeld $30,000 to speak? The Morris County Reps are out of touch.

    1. @joseph blaettler…… The current leadership for the Morris GOP is out of touch. Defillipis will virtually destroy the Morris County Republican party all by himself. He has failed as finance chair of the GOP and now he wants to lead it. Zwigard has political experience running several campaigns that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and will raise money for the party. Defillipis has had fundraisers and ended up losing money. DO THE MATH.

  4. Think this is bad, try Obama going from 5 trillion in debt to 20 trillion. except it was our money, not his. And as for business how about free cell phones, how much was lost on that Obama business plan ?

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