Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Recently Monmouth County Republican Committee members received a telephone message supporting the candidacy of Middletown Deputy Mayor Rosemarie D. Peters for the vacancy to occur on the Board of Freeholders as a result of the election of Amy Handlin to the State Assembly. OK, all well and good. When a vacancy occurs people want to fill it. Mrs. Peters has as much a right as anybody else to throw her name in there.
Only she hasn't thrown her name in.
Yesterday (11/15) committee members received a call from Mrs. Peters herself saying that she hadn't authorized the calls, that she was flattered that the calls were made, and that she would make a decision soon as to just whether or not she's running.
So, what would prompt someone to make calls on behalf of an alleged candidate without first checking with that person first? It all seems very strange.
When a vacancy due to a resignation or death occurs on the Board of Chosen Freeholders, the County Executive Committee of the resigned or deceased member's party is convened by its chairman for the purpose of electing an interim replacement. This most recently happened in December 2004 with the resignation of the late Harry W. Larrison, Jr.; Freeholder William C. Barham bested the now-indicted Keyport Mayor John Merla for the spot at that time. Freeholder Handlin has indicated that she would resign from the Board if elected to the Assembly.
Middletown candidate would seem a logical replacement as Freeholder Handlin is a Middletown resident, but it's more complicated than that. Although Middletown has recently been a reliable GOP stronghold and is the largest municipality in Monmouth County, it no longer comprises as large a percentage of the county, due to growth in other townships, particularly in Western Monmouth County. Howell, in particular has seen quite a lot of growth, as has Marlboro. And being from a huge town is not everything, as Bill Barham is from Monmouth Beach, a smaller borough on the shore. Further, some Republicans may want to blunt the countywide power of former Middletown Mayor Peter Carton, who is the longtime GOP chairman in that township.
At this point I am not aware of any other people declaring themselves candidates for Amy's seat, but it's still early. There will be more. And as I learn their names, I will update.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Fending off a stiff challenge from Democrats, Freeholder William C. Barham and Colts Neck Township Committeewoman Lillian Burry were elected to three year terms on the Board of Chosen Freeholders Tuesday.
Republicans were also victorious in the 11th District, where Assemblymen Steve Corodemus and Sean Kean were reelected; in the 12th District Jennifer Beck and Declan O'Scanlon bested Democrats Michael Panter and Dr. Robert Morgan. (UPDATE! PANTER HAS WON, DEFEATING O'SCANLON BY 65 VOTES. O'SCANLON CARRIED THE MONMOUTH COUNTY PART OF THE DISTRICT, WHILE PANTER CARRIED THE MERCER COUNTY PART. PANTER'S PLURALITY IN MERCER ERASED O'SCANLON'S IN MONMOUTH. O'SCANLON WILL FILE FOR A RECOUNT ONCE THE TOTALS ARE CERTIFIED.) In the 13th District, Assemblyman Sam Thompson was reelected, and Freeholder Amy Handlin will go to Trenton in place of veteran Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina.
On the town level was a mixed bag, with Democrats winning in Matawan, Manalapan and Hazlet, an independent winning Howell, and Republicans winning Holmdel, Red Bank, Marlboro and Millstone. Wall split between an R and a D, and Aberdeen saw Democrats reelected by less than 100 votes.
The 13th District race saw opposition to Handlin's candidacy by supporters of Azzolina, who Handlin defeated in the June primary. To make matters even more exciting, we saw examples of the "partisan print media", including such Democratic
journalists as Union Beach Democratic Chairman Jim Purcell and Union County Democrat James Devine. Purcell is associated with Azzolina but appears to have his own agenda apart from Azzolina's. The diminutive, oompa-loompa-esque Devine is a longtime associate of the defeated William E. Flynn, serving as an aide to Flynn in the 80s. Devine was also associated with former Democratic 4th District congressional candidate James C. Hedden. Hedden, a former Mercer County freeholder, saw his campaign crumble when prank phone calls to Rep. Christopher H. Smith's (R-4th) campaign headquarters were traced to Hedden's headquarters.