TOMS RIVER, NJ – New Jersey Republican State Committeewoman Virginia E. Haines has announced her support for 2018 failed U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin to fill the vacancy left behind by Doug Steinhardt for New Jersey State GOP Chairman. Steinhardt, who announced he is running for Governor had to resign his position as state GOP chairman in doing so.
Hugin, who has openly criticized President Trump’s policy on immigration, border security, abortion, and countless other cornerstones of the Trump administration is going against former GOP Chairman Michael Lavery. Hugin is part of the never-Trumper coalition trying to seize power in the state, reportedly headed by former Governor Chris Christie, GOP Committeeman Willliam Palatucci, Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman, and Haines. Haines’ support for Trump shows her hand as a player in the anti-Trump conspiracy unfolding in New Jersey as Trump’s exit is now apparent. Haines is also under consideration for Lt. Governor by Jack Ciattarelli, another never-Trumper who is running for Governor against Steinhardt.
Haines’ vote, reported by the New Jersey Globe highlights the growing political rift in the Ocean County Republican Party. Under the leadership of Frank Holman, Ocean County is a party divided, evidenced by former Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher’s vote for Lavery. The election between the 41 state GOP takes place virtually on Tuesday.
William Palatucci, former Chris Christie behind-the-scenes power broker also threw his support behind Hugin. The power move by the Christie-Palatucci-Ciattarelli alliance is painting a clearer picture by the day of the GOP forces in New Jersey rallying for power in the vacuum that will be left when Trump leaves office in January. Insiders say they are the driving force behind New Jersey’s growing anti-Trump movement in the Republican Party.
Haines serves as an Ocean County Freeholder where she is the eldest Freeholder on the board by age. Her age is unknown.