With barely any candidates representing the GOP on most local ballots this year, some might say the chairman of the Union County Republican Party could not get arrested, but in Georgia things are a lot different.
Billy Joe Turnage, the 76-year-old Republican Party chairman in Union County, Georgia, allegedly tried to rape a 39-year-old woman in her house — and the GOP boss televised the act on the Internet, where it had been broadcast on Skype.
Georgia’s Union County Republican Party chairman was arrested while he broadcast the ongoing sexual assault and police responded, charging him with aggravated sexual battery and criminal attempt to commit rape.
“On Oct. 22, dispatch received a 911 call at approximately 4 p.m. of what was believed to be an assault and rape,” said Staff Sgt. Darren Osborn, a Union County Sheriff Investigator. “It was being viewed via Skype. Deputies responded and I responded as well.”
“Upon our arrival, we started an investigation,”Osborn said. “The end result was the arrest of Billy Joe Turnage. Mr. Turnage was at the scene when we arrived.”
Osborn said that investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted two days of interviews before bringing criminal attempt to commit rape charges against Turnage.
Osborn also said that the “victim was not physically injured.”
“Because of the nature of the crimes in question, a Superior Court judge is required for a bond hearing, before bail can be set,” he explained. “Mr. Turnage will be held in the Union County Jail until such time as that event occurs and he makes bail.”
By contrast, New Jersey’s nearly lifeless Union County Republican Party has a website closed for alterations a week before election day in which no GOP contender is challenging Democratic Surrogate James LaCorte.
Republicans filed only one candidate, P. Mark Martini, to seek three seats of the freeholder board now held by Angel Estrada of Elizabeth, Christopher Hudak of Linden and Vernell V. Wright of Union.
A last minute election drew as the Republican nominee retired FBI agent Michael Ince, who with no money, message or support is likely to get trounced by controversial Assemblyman Joseph Cryan in the contest to succeed the late Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, who died in July.
No Republicans are running for local offices in Elizabeth, Fanwood, Linden, Roselle, Union or Winfield and Rahway Democrats are unopposed for three council at large seats.
Republican candidate Jeff Bell, whose ideas sparked the Reagan revolution, is expected to be crushed by incumbent Democrat Senator Cory Booker, a Wall Street darling who polls now suggest will win by 20 points.
Union County Republicans in June picked Mountainside Councilman Glenn Mortimer to replace attorney Phil Morin. Morin virtually slept through the party post for several years, carrying on a tradition set by his predecessor, Ronald Frigerio, the former Westfield mayor who earned the dubious distinction of being identified as New Jersey’s worst county political party chairman.
Ensuring the county stays in Democratic hands appears to be a top priority for GOP bosses in Union County, including Congressman Leonard Lance, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick.
It is a mystery why GOP leaders consistently fail to recruit serious candidates and wage inept campaigns on the rare occasion when one falls into their laps, but the fact remains that no Republican candidate got a majority of votes in Union County in 20 years even as Democrats fractured their ranks in divisive primaries and offered flawed candidates with notable weaknesses.
So while New Jersey’s Union County Republican Party chairman is not trying to rape anyone like his counterpart in Georgia, GOP voters would be justified in feeling like they are getting screwed by a political establishment that has no ambition.
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