In a statement to the press, Webber called his resignation “bittersweet” and stated that the only reason for his early departure was due to his commitment to the once in a decade redistricting process, a process that redraws the new congressional and state legislative districts through a reapportionment commission of which Webber is the Republican delegation’s Chairman to and his commitment to responsibilities in the Assembly as a member of the Labor and ever important Budget Committees. The Assemblyman felt that now was the most appropriate time for him to step aside as State G.O.P. Chairman, focus on his other important responsibilitiesm and allow for the next NJGOP Chairman to get a head start in giving the critical pre-2011 election operations the attention that they deserve and require in the months ahead.
Jay Webber is probably one of New Jersey’s greatest political assets. He is an outstanding voice for conservatism, an unusually outstanding one for a state like New Jersey. He is additionally a dedicated and responsible representative of his legislative district. He is one of those rare political leaders who emanates a genuine sincerity of purpose and ability to boot. As such, he has been entrusted with the stewardship of many important tasks and therefore does indeed have much on his plate. So Webber’s claim to focus on such things as the ever important state budget and the critical redistricting that will effect elections for the next decade, is quite palatable. But seeing him resign his post as State Party Chairman is a loss and the Governor’s willingness to let Webber leave the post is a disappointing one.
During his less than two years in the position of Chairman, the NJGOP experienced its first statewide victory in 12 years, regained the 3rd Congressional District seat, won over 52% of the Congressional votes statewide in 2010; gained a State Assembly seat and a net gain of 22 countywide seats, regained control of the Bergen and Monmouth County Freeholder Boards; implemented an historic Victory program in 2009 that made over 2.3 million volunteer phone calls, knocked on over 170,000 doors, and recruited more than 3500 volunteers, raised over $4 million for candidates and party operations; and registered more than 42,000 new Republican voters.
While Chris Christie and the nationwide political trends against Democrats, Webber was surely not solely responsible for all of these successes but he most certainly was instrumental in maximizing our gains and organizing the means to take advantage of positive Republican prospects.
Webber’s replacement is expected to be Saddle River Mayor and Christie confidant, Sam Raia.
For his part Raia issued a statement crediting now former Chairman Webber with great success and vowing to build upon that success and to take back the legislature in this year’s elections.
To do so, Raia will have a lot of work to do. For now, considering the big shoes that he has to fill, he will need the support of Republicans throughout the state and the full cooperation of Governor Christie.