Sami Merhi strikes back

After being strung along by the Democratic Party for the past few months, Sami Merhi has finally decided to fight back. He has filed a law suit against Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie and other party leaders, claiming that he was only stripped of the Democratic nomination to run for countywide office because he is Arab-American.

This represents a major tactical change for Merhi, who had clearly been "playing the victim" up until now, much to the chagrin of myself and my Arab-American GOP colleagues. In any case, Merhi has clearly altered his approach and decided to confront his party head-on for their betrayal, and I like it. I like it when people stand up to the paper-tiger bosses of machine politics.

The Record and the Herald News discuss the lawsuit, which is scheduled to be heard in court on Thursday, here. The article also gives background on the case.

Democratic leaders immediately chastised Merhi's lawsuit, especially Currie, who called it "ridiculous". The most telling remark, though, came from longtime Merhi advocate Congressman Bill Pascrell.
"Sami is my friend. Although I appreciate how he feels, I wish he hadn't taken this path."
First of all, it is widely known Passaic County Democratic factions loyal to Currie and Pascrell, respectively, have been feuding on and off. So should we really believe that Pascrell - whose prominence in some quarters of the Democratic Party has waned, and whose son was only reappointed to a cushy job as Passaic County Counsel because former GOP freeholders Mike Mecca and Walter Porter provided crucial votes in his favor (actually moving and seconding his renomination) - is actually disappointed to see John Currie taken to court?

Democratic Party insiders suggest that Pascrell, after a somewhat anemic electoral showing relative to fellow Democrat and rival Sheriff Jerry Speziale in the 2004 race, appears to have been using any and all political means at his disposal to erode Currie's power base, including the shameless use of Republican proxies. Apparently indifferent to a continued Republican presence on the Freeholder Board to re-appoint his son to the cushy post, he appears to have solidified an alliance with Mecca and his puppeteer, convicted felon and former Republican County Chairman Peter Murphy.

Mecca and Murphy recently led the charge to strongarm the republican executive committee to vote against appointing a GOP challenger to Pascrell, who is seeking his 6th term. (I challenged him 2 years ago for the sake of the party). How can they claim to be loyal Republicans when they would allow one of the top Democrats in Passaic County to go unchallenged? They are carrying his water, just as they did in 2004.

Time and time again, Mecca and Murphy demonstrate that their key motivation is not standing up for conservative principles or for the Republican Party. They are in politics for themselves, and they are certainly not above cutting sweetheart deals with Democrat bosses like Pascrell.

Sources say that Pascrell is really betting on Murphy, who will likely seek a new term as GOP Chairman in the June 13th intramural election. Accordingly, he has reportedly registered discontent with Murphy's GOP opponent, the slow-to-anger lacrosse-playing Mayor of Wayne, Scott Rumana.

Passaic County Democrats need to question why Sami Merhi got a raw deal, why their inept leadership is playing musical chairs on the ballot, and why a United States Congressman spends so much time intervening in local Republican politics, even making alliances with a felon.

Passaic County Republicans need to clean our own house. Let's leave it at that for now.


Anonymous said...

It is absolutely inexcusable that the Passaic County GOP chairman, Mike Mecca, would not seek a candidate to challenge a political hack like Pascrell, both in 2004 and 2006. However, it isn't all that surprising (nor is it surprising that Mecca and Pascrell are allies).

Pascrell doesn't stand for anything. When he speaks to Catholic organizations, he is pro-life. When he speaks infront of more liberal groups, he is pro-choice. When he's at the American Legion, he supports the troops and the War on Terror. Otherwise he criticizes the Patriot Act and the Iraq War (even though he voted for both in 2001 and 2002, respectively) and he shows his contempt for the military by voting twice in Congress to ban recruiters from access to universities and law schools.

Mecca is no different. He talked about the importance of standing with President Bush against John Kerry in the 2004 election, then turned around and publicly praised/endorsed Pascrell - the same Pascrell who practically ran John Kerry's New Jersey campaign. Then in 2005, Mecca backed two candidates for the freeholder board - one of which ran in the early 90s for NJ state assembly as a Democrat, the other of which had given substantial campaign contributions to Pascrell. The Passaic County GOP under Mecca has no website, no county headquarters, and no agenda for the future.

George is right. Loyal members of both parties need to take a serious look at what is going on, and ask what it is that thier respective party leaders truly stand for.

George Ajjan said...

A Republican colleague, whom I respect despite pronounced disagreements in the past, called me today after reading this post, saying that my version of the vote to allow Pascrell to go unchallenged was inaccurate. Very well. Perhaps I received an exaggerated account of what went down. He says it was unanimous, others tell me that there were abstentions.

I guess we will find out when we drive down Union Blvd. in October and take note of how yard signs are paired up.

PaulieWalnuts said...

I hear this Chairman Currie in Passaic County is a car salesman. Looks to me like his political vehicle is out of gas with a rogue congressman and Republicans in bed with Democrats all over.

Are there any good places to get a bite on Union Blvd by the way? I dont go up that way much.

George Ajjan said...

Mr. Walnuts,

I have many a happy childhood memory of cream and jelly donuts from DebPam bakery.

And you gotta love DahDah's Boro Deli with the camel in the window.

Anonymous said...

You can bet that, come September/October, Totowa yards will have Pascrell for Congress signs side-by-side with Nochimson/Soto/Del Vecchio for Freeholder signs.