Alexander's Column

Reaganism lives!

Mark Alexander · Jun. 29, 2001

The BIG news this week, Reagan Republicanism comes roaring back! (Quisling RINOs, beware!) In a stunning demonstration that even the Garden State of New Jersey is not a lost cause for The Federalist’s brand of principled constitutional conservatism, Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler won Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary there, besting the GOP establishment’s handpicked and heavily protected candidate, former U.S. congressman Bob Franks. Schundler, an outspoken social and fiscal conservative, collected 57% of the vote – AKA “landslide.”

In 1996, Mr. Schundler became Jersey City’s first GOP mayor in 75 years and has been re-elected twice, even though only 6% of Jersey City voters are registered Republicans and 68% of registered voters are racial minorities. In the 2000 election, Mr. Schundler won 64% in the city’s most Hispanic voting district and 45% in the district with most black voters.

He won those elections on conservative themes, the same ideas he expressed in his victory speech Tuesday night: “We have a moral responsibility to get taxes down … to give you the tax relief you deserve. We need to do better for our children across the state. Every human life has dignity. Every human life has value….We will fight the special interests. And we will win!”

Schundler will next face Democratic nominee Jim McGreevey for the November election. Of that challenge the Wall Street Journal notes: “In 1966, Democrats in California desperately wanted a 55-year-old actor named Ronald Reagan to win the GOP primary for governor. They got their wish, but Mr. Reagan connected with voters and the rest is history. Mr. Schundler has already won over Jersey City voters three times. He is running as a reform conservative, and his big victory shows the voters are interested. Don’t be surprised if he confounds the experts yet again.”

McGreevey wasted no time launching his campaign: “Carrying a concealed weapon is not a new idea, it’s a bad idea. Taking money from public schools is not a new idea, it’s a bad idea. Preventing abortions…is not a new idea, it’s a bad idea.”

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