Friday, June 30, 2006


Those of you who live in the 6th Congressional District have probably already received a mailing or phone call from the Leigh-Ann Bellew for Congress campaign.
Leigh-Ann is running against entrenched Democrat incumbent politician Frank Pallone, and has hit the ground running. This will be a tough campaign, and it will not be won by sitting around watching TV. Leigh-Ann knows that you can't be "Pallone Lite" and expect to win; she's right on the issues. She believes in the issues she stands for; you'll know that if elected, she won't be a RINO or DIRC.
The House of Representatives was intended to be a citizen-legislature. Unlike Pallone, Leigh-Ann Bellew is not a career politician, and will be a citizen-legislator for the 6th District.
If you live in the 6th District and Leigh-Ann's campaign reaches out to you, lend a hand. If you haven't heard from her yet, why not reach out at 732-692-6443.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Embattled Keyport Mayor John Merla is now a Democrat, according to a June 8 Courier article, as well as a report in this week's Independent.
Merla, elected as a Republican, was nabbed in the FBI's "Operation Bid Rig" and faces eight counts of corruption charges. He maintains his innocence and intends to go to trial and fight the charges. He had previously beaten charges brought by then County Prosecutor John Kaye in the early 90's by going to trial.
Once considered a rising young star in our party, Merla was a candidate for Harry Larrison's open freeholder seat in December 2004, opposing Bill Barham, who was elected. Merla and others would be arrested the following February.
Some who supported Merla now say they would have supported Barham had they known of Merla's alleged corruption.
Merla had declared himself an independent last year; this year he becomes a Democrat. We wish him well in his new home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It has been a week since Adam Puharic has been elected as our County Chairman, and there have been many theories as to how or why.
In a nutshell, he got more votes.
Well, a number of reasons. First, let's look at the field of candidates. For starters, you had no organized, united opposition to former chairman Fred Niemann like you had against Niemann's predecessor Bill Dowd in 2004 with Monmouth GOP for Change. Instead, you had a pretty large field of possible candidates, which seemed to change on a daily basis. This group represented a wide array of views within our party. Two early entries were former Freeholder Ed Stominski and Neptune Planning Board member Mel Hood. Stominski and Hood teamed up as a slate.
A possible consensus candidate emerged in Sheriff Joe Oxley, only to withdraw from the race. Oxley's withdrawal brought Red Bank GOP Chairman Jim Giannell into the race. Giannell has a reputation for grass-roots organization and coalition building.
Towards late May, former Undersheriff Adam Puharic was mentioned as a possible candidate; he soon declared as a candidate, as did Millstone Township Committeeman Elias Abliheira. Abilheira would withdraw and endorse Puharic.
Giannell and Puharic would soon emerge as the front-runners in the race.
How did Puharic come from behind for such a resounding victory?
Again, there was no organized opposition to Niemann's chairmanship; when Niemann bowed out a major issue was removed from the race. A major obstacle to Giannell consolidating support was Stominski's candidacy, as both men drew support from the same base.
Philosophy was not a factor here as it was in Bergen County, where you had Reagan conservatives versus Whitman-type RINO's. Giannell and Puharic are both well-known as conservatives.
Many Republicans had concerns that Puharic would be a continuation of the Niemann regime, with Dan Gallic, PACs, etc. Puharic assured committee people that he was his own man, and most believed that. He was not a part of the inner circle of "bunker boys."
Finally, let's take a look at the recent choices made by the County Committee: Freeholder Anna Little and Freeholder Candidate Andrew Lucas. Both were "come-from-behind" candidates, and more importantly, both are from the youth of our party. After years of a continually aging leadership, Monmouth County Republicans have been turning to the youth for the future of our party. Anna Little is 38, Andrew Lucas is 28 and Adam Puharic is 35. Puharic's election continues that trend.
(The trend towards youth is actually a return to past practices. Harry Larrison was 39 when he first went on the Board of Freeholders, Ted Narozanick was 27 when elected to the Englishtown Borough Council and about 37 when he first came into county government.)
It is no secret that this blog supported Jim Giannell; however the committee has spoken. Adam is the Chairman, and it is important for our entire party that he do a great job. We wish him the best of luck in leading our party.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The Monmouth County Republican Blog usually avoids delving into local issues, but this one is pretty big and promises to get bigger.
The controversial Matawan/Aberdeen Train Station Redevelopment project has been dogged with delays and accusations of "pay-to-play."
Courier publisher Jim Purcell has done a lot of hard work on this matter and has editorialized on it.
Purcell in turn, has received criticism for his coverage of the issue from this blog as well as More Monmouth Musings.
The criticism is not based on the idea that Purcell is covering the matter; it should be covered. It is based on the fact that related issues up in that part of the county have not been covered.
Let's not give the Democrats a pass here.
The Aberdeen Republicans' website says, "In 2003, (The Aberdeen Democrats) accepted contributions of $4,000 from JPI, developer of Jefferson apartments, now Versailles, and $5,000 from Kara Homes, developer of Aspen Woods on Route 34 and Aberdeen Forge in Freneau."
An article in the Independent back in December exposes a 2001 contribution of $5,000.00 from "Dean Development Co. Inc., a Monroe Township development firm linked to Silver Oak Properties."
Silver Oak is the developer chosen by Aberdeen for the redevelopment project.
The vast editorial staff here at the Monmouth County Republican Blog researched this at ELEC and found it all to be true.

Dean Development, Monroe Twp., contributed $5,000.00 to the Monmouth County Democrats on October 25, 2001. On November 6, 2001, $5,000.00 was contributed by the Monmouth County Democrats to the Aberdeen Democratic Campaign 2001.

Two years later we have the JPI Good Government Fund, Austin, TX, contributing $4,000.00 to the Monmouth County Democrats on October 20, 2003.That same day, Kara Services Co. LLC, East Brunswick, contributed $5,000.00 to the Monmouth County Democrats. On October 27, The Monmouth County Democrats contributed $9,000.00 to Aberdeen Democratic Campaign 2003.

Is it because these developers are extraordinarily civic-minded Americans who have a deep, abiding interest in township committees doing their jobs of serving their constituency? Might it be that these developers just love participating in the political process?
Naaaaaah, looks more like they're "power-washing" the money.
Here at the Monmouth County Republican Blog, we are known to look up an occasional ELEC report, when one is actually filed. We will continue to do this.
We encourage all the papers to cover this and similar issues.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Adam N. Puharic of Aberdeen Township was elected Chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Committee tonight by a resounding margin over James Giannell of Red Bank and Edward Stominski of Eatontown.
Former Holmdel Mayor Mollie Giamanco was elected vice chairman.
While this blog had been critical of Puharic and some of his alliances, that stops here and now.
Chairman Puharic was elected fair and square, by the same County Committee that chose Anna Little and Andrew Lucas.
Our new chairman must be given the opportunity to do a good job; we must now look to November and beating the Democrats.
Remember the Democrats?
In a show of unity Giannell joined Puharic on the dais after the winner was announced; Puharic asked Giannell for his help in fine-tuning the convention process. It is time now for us all to unite as a team and work for victory this fall!

Friday, June 09, 2006


William H. Seward at More Monmouth Musings has a great post today on the County Chairman's race.

In it, he lists some information about the candidates: James Giannell of Red Bank, Ed Stominski of Eatontown, Elias Abilheira of Millstone and Adam Puharic of Aberdeen. He points out that it would appear that Puharic is the candidate of the current party leadership, Fred Niemann, Dan Gallic, Norine Kelly, etc.

Will points out an item of serious concern:

"Additionally, the return address on Adam's mailing is 16 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ. Once again, the party apparatus and resources are favoring one candidate over others."

Now, this by itself would appear conclusive that "they're at it again", but there's more. The vast editorial staff here at the Monmouth County Republican Blog has received complaints from committee persons about e-mails sent to them from Adam Puharic on behalf of his campaign for chairman. What the committee members are wondering is, "How did the Puharic campaign get my e-mail address?"

How indeed?

This is an echo of an incident back in February where committee persons were spammed with e-mails from the campaign of Joe DiBella for freeholder.

Most people's concerns are that the party leadership is once again allowing the use of Republican Headquarters resources for their handpicked people.

Seward closes that Puharic "has a bright future, so long as he chooses his friends carefully." Very true. Right now, it looks like Adam has gotten in with a bad crowd.

Committee persons should consider the candidates very carefully. The individual that they choose will be entrusted with the leadership of our party for at least the next two years. It is important to show up Tuesday and let your voice be heard.

The election for chairman will be June 13th at 7:30 P.M. at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, New Jersey in the Navesink Room located inside the Warner Student Life Building, 2nd Floor. If there is a change, we will post it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Former Middletown Township Mayor Raymond "O'Shady" O'Grady has been found guilty on all counts, according to the APP.

All the good work O'Grady has done for Middletown, for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the VFW and other causes, has been negated by his criminal acts. He has ensured that he will be remembered mainly for being a corrupt politician.

He should have thought of the consequences for himself, his community and his family before he selfishly jumped feet first into the underworld.


The Asbury Park Press reports today that Charles G. Betancourt, former treasurer of the Central Jersey Democratic Leadership Council (CJDLC), has pleaded not guilty in Middlesex County Superior Court to embezzling $53,238.00 from the Democratic PAC.

The CJDLC is a Rahway-based PAC led by the oompaloompaesque Union County publisher and Bill Flynn associate James J. Devine.

Formerly, the CJDLC weBSite claimed the CJDLC is not subject to ELEC reporting as it is organized as a 527 fund. It now states, "Membership fees or gifts to the Central Jersey Democratic Leadership Council are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. They are also not subject to federal or state election law limits."

The CJDLC was a major contributor to the losing 2005 Bill Flynn - Mike DaSaro assembly campaign, and Devine was treasurer of Lenny Inzerillo's unsuccessful 2003 assembly campaign. Both campaigns were in the 13th District.

Ironically, Devine stated on the website, "Donations will be deposited into the personal bank account of this website's owner/operator and will be used to defray expenses for research and reporting about the corrupt politicians to whom this site is dedicated." Guess Betancourt decided to take that one to new levels.

Betancourt is still listed as treasurer on the PAC's weBSite.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


You can't make this stuff up, folks. Like Pavlov's dogs, an impending court date seems to bring on a medical emergency in some people.
Of course, Anthony Spalliero's medical emergency is not as serious as the one he intended to give to that Brookdale student back in September. Or the one that Petra Johnson, his late ex-comare, had in Florida. Or pilot Lino Fasio.
Spalliero, who was healthy enough to pull a gun on the student, will now be arraigned on June 26. Let's hope that Superior Court Judge Bette E. Uhrmacher appoints a physician to examine him, and doesn't simply rely on the word of Spalliero's doctor and former business partner, Dr. Aaron J. Feingold. And that she doesn't go soft on him like she did with the Rev. Hughes of Rumson.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Today marks the first anniversary of the Monmouth County Republican Blog. We began the morning after the 2005 Republican Primary, and have been going ever since. For the first few months this site languished at less than 100 hits. After the 2005 election, readership picked up with speculation on who would be Amy Handlin's replacement on the Board of Chosen Freeholders; that position would be filled by Freeholder Anna C. Little.
We began as a pro-Chairman Fred Niemann blog; the first post explains, "I am in support of Chairman Fred Niemann and what he is trying to accomplish with the organization." In the beginning, Niemann showed a lot of promise; sadly, he squandered a lot of goodwill with the rank and file and appeared to rely more and more upon his shadowy executive director, Dan Gallic of Somerset County.
For various reasons, the vast editorial staff here at the Monmouth County Republican Blog made the decision that our county GOP needed new leadership.
There are some who believe that this blog and others like it played no small part in Niemann's impending departure from the Chairmanship. Could be. What we endeavored to do here was not to bring down a chairman or anyone else, but to report the truth and foster honest debate among County Republicans. If that was Niemann's downfall, so be it.
It is said that either Niemann or Gallic started blogging under the name "Ronald Reagan"; the two blogs under that name have been defunct since the April County Convention and were in fact inactive shortly after the February Title 19 Convention. A pity, because those blogs could have been a great venue to get the message out, and could have been an asset not only to Fred, but the party organization. Some have said that the County Organization paid someone to set up those blogs; ironically this was not necessary as Blogger is a free service. Some have also questioned where the income from the ads still running on one of the sites is going. This will be but a miniscule portion of the task ahead of the new county chairman.
Hopefully the new chairman, whoever that may be, will recognize the power and usefulness of the internet and the blogosphere. The Democrats have only just begun what we've had for a year.
Thank you all for reading and commenting and I hope to see you here in the following year.
Tomorrow is the Republican Primary. Polls are open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Check your sample ballot for polling place location, then go vote.

Friday, June 02, 2006


The corruption trial of former Middletown Mayor Raymond "O'Shady" O'Grady, who was busted in the FBI's "Operation Bid Rig", and could get up to 20 years in prison, began this week, and already it looks like it's going to be a circus.
As the second day of testimony was to begin, witness Anthony Palughi, in true mobster style, took ill, and was rushed to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where there is no corruption. This recalls a case last year where gangsta developer Anthony Spalliero was said to be "near death" conveniently as his bail was about to be revoked. The ploy worked for Spalliero: Instead of a 4' x 6' jail cell, he was sent to his daughter's Hazlet home and told "wear this ankle bracelet". Said to be "near death" in September, it is unknown whether Spalliero has gotten any closer to his destination.
The basis of O'Grady's defense is that "Palughi is a liar"; it would appear that that much is true, as Palughi pleaded guilty Wednesday to making false statements. Whether it is even relevant to the charges against O'Grady remains for the jury to decide.
A number of defendants have entered guilty pleas in the Bid Rig matter, including former Marlboro Committeeman Thomas Broderick, former Hazlet Mayor Paul Coughlin, former Neptune Mayor Richard Iadanza, former County Transportation Coordinator Joseph "Joey Buses" McCurnin, Palughi and former Deputy County Fire Marshal Patsy Townsend.
Operation Bid Rig is an ongoing federal investigation into corruption in Monmouth County, which Monmouth County Democratic Boss Victor V. Scudiery referred to as "entrapment."