By Jay Cook |
Republican Stalwart William Dowd Remembered
William Dowd, one of Monmouth County’s most visible and influential conservative figures over the past few decades, died earlier this week at the age of 74.
A Long Branch resident, Dowd was the face of the Monmouth County Republican Committee while he served as its chairman from 1986 to 2004. That political activism stretched through most of his adult life dating back to his time in law school at Seton Hall University and Rutgers University.
After admittance to the New Jersey and New York State Bar associations, Dowd went on to serve as a clerk to Judge James Coleman, a former New Jersey state assemblyman, and state Sen. Richard Stout, according to his obituary. That political career even took him to Washington, D.C., where he was an assistant to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury David Kennedy. Dowd was also a speechwriter as a staff assistant in President Richard Nixon’s administration.
Dowd returned to New Jersey and embarked on his own political career. He ran for U.S. Congress unsuccessfully in 1970 and 1972, then won two terms as a state assemblyman from 1978 to 1981, where he served as the Parliamentarian.
“He was brilliant – published in the New York Times more than just about any Republican – and a truly independent spirit,” state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) said in a statement to New Jersey Globe, which first reported Dowd’s death.
In a statement on its public Facebook page, the Monmouth County Republic Committee said Dowd, “made enormous contributions to the quality of life in Monmouth County, both as a Party Leader and through his legal work for many towns and the County. May he rest in peace.”
His influence even extended across the partisan aisle. Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, said Dowd was an influential Republican force.
“We shared a respect for (Winston) Churchill and (Margaret) Thatcher. He and his firm represented Red Bank during the administration of former Mayor Michael Arnone,” Menna wrote on his Facebook page. “He always maintained his office in Red Bank. Freehold may have been the county seat, but Bill was known to hold his power talks at the courtyard of the Dubliner in the afternoons.”
Monmouth U Weighs In on Midterm Elections
The strength of New Jersey’s Republican voting base will be put to the test this upcoming election season, much in part to the effect President Donald Trump has had on Garden State voters, one local poll found earlier this month.
An April 16 Monmouth University Polling Institute report shows how the so-called Trump Effect could swing many of New Jersey’s Republican seats in the House of Representative over to Democrats.
Monmouth University believes Democrats have a “formidable” 19-point advantage over Republicans in a state-wide generic congressional ballot test, while also finding that 54 percent of all registered voters would lean to or vote for a Democrat over a Republican.
The “poor public opinion leads the list of factors behind the New Jersey GOP’s underlying problems,” according to Monmouth University’s analysis.
That could signal major changes for at least one of the Two River-area congressional districts. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4), a Republican, is up for re-election later this year as he seeks his 20th consecutive term in Washington, D.C. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-6), a Democrat, is also running for re-election.
“This is pretty astounding. Not only are New Jersey Democrats doing better on the generic House ballot statewide, but the shift is coming almost entirely from districts currently held by the GOP. If these results hold, we could be down to just one or two – or maybe even zero – Republican members in the state congressional delegation after November,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
New Jersey Democrats hold a 7-5 advantage in seats in the House of Representatives over their Republican colleagues. Every seat is up for re-election in 2018.
This article was first published in the April 26-May 3, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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