Governor Chris Christie’s trusted political advisor is taking over the leadership of the New Jersey Republican Party.
Bill Stepian managed Christie’s 2009 victory over Jon Corzine, became the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff and then managed the 2013 reelection campaign. Stepien was tabbed by Christie today to replace Sam Raia, the real estate executive and mayor of Saddle River who lead the NJ GOP for the last three years. Raia resigned today, effective immediately.
In a press release, the NJ GOP characterized Raia’s tenure as “historic.”
“We’ve surpassed each of our goals during the three years of my chairmanship – we’ve reelected our Governor by historic margins, raised $8.8 million and laid the groundwork for the future success of our Party,” said Raia. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity provided by Governor Christie and members of the State Committee to serve our Party.”
Winning control of the legislature must not been one of Raia’s goals.
“Chairman Raia’s leadership at the State Committee was instrumental in my reelection, and every success we’ve had as a Party over the last three years,” said Christie. “Sam has set our Party on course for even more success in the future.”
Raia strong suit is fundraising. Stepien is a strategist and political operative, “the best Republican political operative in the country,” according to Christie.
“Bill Stepien is the best Republican operative in the country, and New Jersey Republicans will be fortunate to have him leading our Party.”
If New Jersey Republicans are willing to be led to victory in winnable legislative districts and counties, they will indeed be fortunate to have Stepien at the helm. If New Jersey Republicans in power in the legislature and in swing counties continue to focus on their parochial interests, rather than on winning, Stepien, who was also named a consultant to the Republican Governor’s Association last month, would be wise to keep his focus on getting Christie elected president.