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The Boss
BIPARTISAN OPERATIONS

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

When a Democratic political leader is able to exert so much influence in an important segment of the Republican Party in his state, it may safely be assumed that he can do even more in the Republican organization in his own county. The control in Hudson County is almost absolute; the Republican Party there is just a wing of the Hague organization. The leader is Charles Stoebling, commissioner of registration, who serves under the allegedly and legally bipartisan county board of elections. Mr. Stoebling did not lose his position even when in 1937 Governor Hoffman failed to fill the Republican seats on the board; he evidently serves with such general satisfaction that not even a Democratic majority would consider displacing him.

Many of the Republican committeemen and women in Hudson County are employees of the board of elections, as the Young Committee brought out. A Mr. Mike Bresnock, who worked under Stoebling for the board, was identified as the man who induced a Mr. Leonard Stevens to run for committeeman. The testimony Stevens gave shows the verve and enthusiasm with which Republican district leaders work:

Q. Did you run for him [Bresnock]?
A. Yes.

Q. He asked you to run?
A. Yes, Sir.

Q. Did you attend any meetings, get any pep talks, go out and get the vote in?
A. No, Sir.

Q. Did you canvass your district?
A. No, I didn't.

Q. Did you have any meetings of the First Ward Republican County Committee?
A. Not to my knowledge, no.

Q. Did Bresnock call you in before the election and say, `We didn't get any votes on the ticket [in Stevens' district] last year. You ought to be able to get a few this year. Go out and do some work'?
A. No.

The party loyalty of such workers is dubious, even to their voting their own ticket:

Q. The Republican ticket received one vote straight down the line; the Democratic ticket received 433. I suppose I am safe in assuming that you are the only good Republican in that district?
A. I am a Republican.

Q. You voted the ticket straight down the line?
A. I wouldn't answer that question because ... it is a sacred ballot.

Neither do some of the Republicans show any great interest in the results of an election, even in weird results:

Q. The three of you [Republicans] were there when the total was announced?
A. Yes.

Q. And when you heard the 433-to-1 vote you fellows packed up and walked out and said, `Thanks, fellows, for the one; last year we had none'? Is that right?
A. That is all I know.

Q. You have to be a little careful down there, don't you?
A. You have to. (Transcript, pp. 1090-1095. Some irrelevant questions and answers have been omitted)

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