Morris Freeholders: Checkmate Strategies vs. Checkmate Action

Will the sucking never end?  Does the media do any research anymore… or are they just in the business of being punked?

Yesterday, this popped up on a Left-leaning, Trenton-insider blog: 

One of the three candidates running on a slate against three incumbent Morris freeholders in the June Republican primary has spent $42,000 on consulting services with Checkmate Strategies LLC, which lists an address at 30 N.Gould Street in Sheridan, Wyo. That, according to an April 15 campaign financial statement filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission by candidate Donald Dinsmore.

Dinsmore is running on a slate with William Felegi and Cathy Winterfield against incumbents Doug Cabana, Kathy DeFillippo and Tom Mastrangelo. The ELEC filing by Dinsmore as an individual candidate lists the contribution as being made Feb. 4 of this year.

There is a New Jersey political consulting firm named Checkmate Strategies. Based in Jackson, it was co-founded by Chris Russell and has won numerous awards for its work. 

But Russell said in an email that his firm is not involved with the Dinsmore campaign…

So, there’s another Checkmate Strategies in Wyoming?


However, the address in question, 30 N. Gould Street, is actually a mail forwarding center. According to its website, Wyoming Mail Forwarding promises to open and scan all mail and deliver it to the recipient the day it arrives. All well and good, but who exactly is Checkmate Strategies. And why does it have the same name as a well-known New Jersey consultant?

Dinsmore said the expenditure was for “consulting services,” which is also how it’s described on the ELEC report. But he declined to elaborate further.

There are some obvious questions here. Besides who the consultant actually is, why is a candidate in Morris County using a mail forwarding outfit in Wyoming?

Well, if the blog in question had done just a little creative research – in this case, searching the term “checkmate” on the Wyoming Secretary of State’s business name search engine – they would have found that, in fact, there is a registered corporation (in good-standing) by that name, doing business from that address. 

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As for the question:  And why does it have the same name as a well-known New Jersey consultant?  Well the writer is betraying a rather naïve Jersey-centric world view here.  There are no border checkpoints preventing a firm in Wyoming from working in New Jersey.  Checkmate Strategies itself has worked on races as far away as Alaska.  And the firm handling Mr. Dinsmore’s opponents has clients even further afield, often necessitating filings under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. 

Added to this is the fact that Checkmate Strategies doesn’t own their own name in most of the country.  Even in neighboring Pennsylvania…

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Like Checkmate Action Group LLC, Checkmate Strategies LLC is a somewhat recent entity, formed in New Jersey on September 22, 2017.  Its partners are Chris Russell of Jackson, New Jersey, and Michael Lawler of Pearl River, New York.  So it got the jump on the Wyoming firm by just over a year. 

Is all this an issue?  Well, when you figure out who actually owns Checkmate Action Group LLC, perhaps it will be.  Enjoy your research…