Did Sussex Republicans go for Gay Marriage?
Besides being achieved at the expense of the District 24 legislators, U.S. Senate candidate Rich Pezzullo’s 44 percent showing in Sussex County was a shocker for another reason: Alone among the four Republicans running for their party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, Pezzullo supported gay marriage.
That’s right. Steve Lonegan protégé Rick Shaftan’s candidate for United States Senate supported gay marriage and opposed the death penalty in all circumstances – even for terrorists, serial killers, and criminals who murder innocent children. He said so at the very start of his campaign and it was reported in the Star-Ledger on March 3, 2014:
On social issues, Pezzullo is not easily classified. He opposes abortion and says he is pro-gun rights. But he also favors permitting same-sex marriage and opposes the death penalty.
“My Second Amendment friends love me, but they have a problem with me because I don’t support the death penalty," he said. "My pro-life friends love me because I’m 100% pro-life, but they have problems with me because I support marriage equality. Everybody has a reason not to vote for me, and yet when they allow me to explain all the thought that went into my positions they see I don’t shoot from the hip.”
Of course, knowing this wouldn’t have presented a problem for Shaftan, a consultant for Hudson County Democrat State Senator (and Mayor and School Superintendent) Nick Sacco. Sacco is on record as voting for gay marriage in the State Senate.
One Sussex County elected official who supported Rich Pezzullo was Freeholder George Graham, as did some of those associated with Graham’s Sussex County League of Municipalities. Were they aware of Pezzullo’s position on gay marriage and the death penalty?
Pezzullo also enjoyed support from the Tea Party movement in Sussex County. Team New Jersey and Tpath sent out endorsements for Pezzullo that claimed to have researched his positions on the issues.
Does this mean that Tea Partiers like Roseann Salanitri and Bader Qarmout now support gay marriage?
We can’t be sure, but here is what Team New Jersey/Tpath wrote in their endorsement:
May 31, 2014 ~TPATH~ This release is a collaboration between the founder of TeamNJ, Mr. Nicholas Purpura and TPATH. First we would like to apologize to our readers and TeamNJ members for not getting this release out earlier. We have spent much time evaluating and vetting each of the four candidates vying for the Republican Primary for United States Senate.
Richard J. Pezzullo is a good solid conservative. He has fire in his belly. He is as in tune with the pulse of the people and understands the fury in all of us. He too has that fury. He is unashamed of his conservative values and never fails to espouse them. TeamNJ and TPATH are convinced the Mr. Pezzullo will be a force in the United States Senate and will align with great Senators like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz.
TEAM NEW JERSEY and TPATH -
Strongly support Mr. Richard J. Pezzullo for the US Senate
Several of our readers have requested information on which candidate we were supporting. At the time Murray Sabrin appeared to be the best candidate and we indicated that to a few people. Since then however our research has been completed and we are now in complete agreement with TeamNJ that Richard Pezzullo is the best candidate. But as we said, Murray Sabrin is a good man.
Note to the vetting committee at Team New Jersey and Tpath: Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz do not support gay marriage. Also, saying you don’t like Jeff Bell because he once worked for Richard Nixon is something you would not apply to Pat Buchanan or Robert Bork, so why say it?
You have to wonder what level of research was done that these people didn’t figure out that Pezzullo was for gay marriage and against the death penalty. The Star-Ledger story appeared on March 3, 2014, right after Pezzullo won his first convention. It is one of the first things that come up when you Google his name.
Sussex County Republicans probably had no idea what they were voting for on June 3rd but instead relied on the recommendations of local people who call themselves “conservative” or members of the “Tea Party”. On the other hand, the people who promoted Rich Pezzullo in Sussex County should have known his position on these issues and if they did, it shows an interesting evolution on the part of the Tea Party, here in Sussex County and across New Jersey.