Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Much has been said about the great President Ronald Wilson Reagan's 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt speak no ill of a fellow Republican."
This has been used frequently during debate between members of our great party. Sometimes it's used to stifle debate. Here in the Great County of Monmouth, our GOP County Chairman has invoked the 11th Commandment and then gone and spoken ill of his fellow Republicans!
So thye vast editorial staff here at the Monmouth County Republican Blog decided to research the 11th Commandment and find out just exactly what The Gipper's intent was. What was its context?
It didn't take long to find a timely (Feb. 2, 2007) Opinion Journal article by Peggy Noonan, President Reagan's former speechwriter, who has a unique insight into our 40th President. We strongly recommend following the link to read her full article (Click her name.), but in a nutshell Ms. Noonan explains:

"The 11th commandment meant the fight should never be mean, low or unnecessarily injurious to the person, or the party. But a fight could be waged--should be waged--over big, big things."

Well. That doesn't mean stifling debate at all. Far from it. I guess difference of opinion isn't out of order after all.
Our County Chairman should read Ms. Noonan's article. More than once. Memorize it. Learn from it. For all of his invocations of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, the way he is running our party, what with squashing debate and pursuing those who don't follow in lockstep with him, is more akin to Richard Milhous Nixon or William Jefferson Clinton than Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Back in June, the Monmouth County Republican Blog did not support Adam Puharic for County Chairman; we believed James Giannell would be a better choice. That having been said, once Puharic was elected we congratulated him and gave him every benefit of the doubt. Although there were lurid tales leaking out of Aberdeen about his raging temper and despotic nature, we took him at his word when he wrote:

"I made many hard decisions, and numerous mistakes. One of those mistakes cost me an important friendship. I chose to use my power as Chairman to punish dissent, instead of healing, bringing people together, and fostering debate without resentment. I learned a powerful lesson – one that I hope the future Chairman will use to success: Power is finite. Once you use it, you immediately begin to lose it. But influence is forever. If you harness your influence, you can see the right ideas come to light, whether they are yours or not."

We believed him when he said he had learned his lesson.
Apparently he had not.

"Remember Admiral Nelson. In the year 1800, the British Admiral Horatio Nelson won the important battle of Trafalgar, which led to British dominance for almost one hundred years. Before the battle he wrote, 'A commander can do no wrong if he turns his guns toward the enemy and fires away.' The next chairman must not waste one word on Republicans. It is time to focus on beating democrats."

Rich Kohler of Hazlet, who blogs at The Middle Road, commented here expressing concern about a Puharic chairmanship last June:

"Although all the talk of uniting the Party against the Democrats sounds inspirational, I can’t shake a nagging suspicion that it’s just rhetorical code for a “no dissension” approach to leadership, and that the real losers are the people who thought they were voting for change by electing Puharic."

"My wife, who is new to the County Committee, clarified her apprehension (which she characterized as minor and potential) as such: 'By vilifying dissension, the leadership creates a kill-the-messenger atmosphere and the balance of power ends up teetering unproductively between “disruptive” naysayers and self-interested “public” servants.'"

At the time, we downplayed Rich's concerns. How prophetic he sounds now!
Today we are faced with a bad situation that didn't have to happen at all. Two incumbent freeholders are up for reelection, Robert Clifton and Anna Little. By all accounts, both have performed well on the Board, and are interested in running again. Normally, they would be accorded the courtesy of an acclamation vote at the convention.
Puharic decided to pursue a vendetta against Freeholder Little because of differences of opinion during last year's campaign. (Clifton, too, may be in Puharic's crosshairs.) He devised a screening process which specifically targeted Freeholder Little by requiring her to be the only incumbent to screen. When called on this, he changed the process and required all incumbents to screen; this was merely cover for his original scheme.
The situation deteriorated and now has made the newspapers. This has embarassed the Party; the Party is not Puharic, it is the sum of its membership.
Puharic even went so far as to hold a meeting with Freeholder Little with two men present assuming intimidating poses. The freeholder reported that Puharic said that they were to protect her from his temper. Protect her from his temper? This is an outrage to every good Republican– over 550 of us who attended Lincoln Day Monday night -- was he implying that he might physically strike her? That he needed the two men there to restrain him? Is this the type of individual who we want leading our great Party?
In less than a year, this chairman has become an embarassment to our great organization. His utter and amateurish lack of political instinct is apparent, and not only in the way he has handled the Little candidacy. His strident opposition to the 12th District State Senate candidacy of Joseph Locricchio against Jennifer Beck has given Locricchio more free publicity and exposure than Joe could hope to get on his own. Jen Beck, please take note. And every time Adam bashes the blogs, my hit counter goes off the charts!
A few weeks ago I would have said that he still had a way out and save face by revising the process and working this out with Freeholder Little.
That window has closed.
While it is normally not healthy for a political party to frequently change chairmen, it would be absolutely malignant for Adam Puharic to remain at the helm of the Monmouth County Republican Committee. On Wednesday, I posted a comment on More Monmouth Musings calling for Puharic's resignation. Today, the Asbury Park Press has joined me. I'm not known as a fan of that paper, but they're right on this one.
Finally, a note to all the great Republican candidates. Take a good, hard look at what is going on here. Where Anna Little finds herself, so might you. Be prepared to take steps to prevent this type of fiasco from happening again.

February 24th

Two things. First, I was going to pose the question whether anybody knew what the get-together at Republican Headquarters on Wednesday and Thursday evenings was about. Never mind. I believe I have my answer. Today I received a comment from a veteran Republican who wished not to be published. This individual's complaint was that they had received a mailing from the County Republican Organization which was the same as Chairman Puharic's diatribe against Freeholder Little.
Your contributions at work.

Second. Back in late December, William H Seward ran a post on More Monmouth Musings entitled 2007 Predictions. In it, he predicted that Howell Mayor Joe DiBella would screen for freeholder. Mayor DiBella posted the following comment stating that he had no interest in running; he also voiced his opinion on the attacks against Freeholder Little.

Joe_DiBella said...
Interesting predictions. Bit you absolutely have at least one wrong. I will certainly not seek the nomination for Freeholder under any condition. I am very happy with my position as Mayor. I think Drew would be an exceptional candidate and there are many other good people available as well, Bob McKenna to name another. Plus, with the non sense that some are trying to pin on Ms. Little, which is disgusting, I frankly have no taste for such politics.
Saturday, January 06, 2007 3:22:00 PM

Thank you for standing up and speaking your mind, Mr. Mayor.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Standing strong against the voices attempting to destroy our party

Dear fellow Republicans:
Tonight, I received word from the Asbury Park Press that Anna Little has decided not to seek our great Republican Party endorsement, and instead is considering to run off the line in a primary or has even hinted at switching parties. Switching parties? This is an outrage to every good Republican – over 550 of us who attended Lincoln Day last night -- that she would betray our hard work, use the election victory we all worked towards together, and throw all of it away for her personal glory.
[OK. Switching parties? Adam, you sound like your RastaMan friend here.]
As a result, I will honor her request and I remove her for consideration as a Freeholder candidate in 2007. Despite her attempts to undermine her running mates, Monmouth County Republicans like Claire French, Joe Kyrillos, Sean Kean, and Jennifer Beck will prevail in the fall.[Undermine? Oh Adam, do explain.]
In her comments, she will claim that the candidate agreement our party asked candidates to sign is the sole reason she is leaving our party – but nothing could be further from the truth. She did not have to sign it, and I told her this. [The only "agreement" that amounts to a hill of beans is the Oath of Office. You know, the one that says "under the authority of the PEOPLE." Not under the authority of the Party. Not under the authority of Puharic.] From the beginning, Anna Little and her supporters have attempted to divide our party by embarrassing fellow Republicans in the Asbury Park Press.[Oh, I guess you must mean that pesky vote against curmudgeonly County Counsel Malcolm Carton. How dare she!] Only Anna Little and the renegade candidate attempting to undermine Jennifer Beck’s run at Ellen Karcher have made an issue of the candidate selection process. [Undermine? It's called a primary. The law allows it. So, is Rudy Giuliani "undermining" Mitt Romney's run at the White House?] For them, it was an excuse to embarrass our party, and to undermine our leadership. [Adam, you are an embarassment to our party.] They have failed, and in their failure they are now joined as a campaign ticket against all Monmouth County Republicans. [Say what?]
Truth be told, Anna Little was not living up to her promises when she ran for office. She has proven ineffective in reforming county government, [Careful here, Adam. Either county government is reforming or it's not. If it's not, then you've just attacked all the Republican freeholders.] and instead attacks her fellow Republican Freeholders. She has not lived up to her responsibility as a party leader. Instead of being an active part of the 2006 campaign, Anna’s supporters organized into a counter-organization known as “Anna’s Army.” They met independently of the true campaign, making decisions counter-productive to her great running mates Andrew Lucas and Rosemarie Peters. [And she won, Adam. Sounds like "Anna's Army" was pretty effective after all. Would that Andrew had an organization like that. He might have been a freeholder today.] They made independent campaign expenditures without consulting their running mates. [Each of the three candidates had their own campaign account and treasurer. Oh, and did I mention that Anna won.]
And last night, Anna’s supporters attempted a quiet boycott of Lincoln Day in a poor attempt at protest. [Lincoln Day was a nice event. Freeholder Little was there herself. But attendance has been going down for several years. Because a few people may have had other committments, it doesn't constitute a boycott. But, once again, Adam, we find you and the libelous blogger Rasta on the same page. One wonders. Are you him? Do you know who it is? Are they working at your behest? No, you don't have to answer now. It means so much more when you're sworn under oath.] Instead this backfired, with over 500 Republicans of good cheer replacing them without much effort. This party is moving on. We have moved past the angry scowls and negative spin of an agenda-driven cabal. [Cabal? Be careful with those conspiracy theories.]
On March 3, our screening committee will convene to select two Freeholder candidates [TWO?? I thought the screening committee was supposed to select two for each position, meaning that all four should all go right to the convention. Wow. I wonder which two he means here. Adam, are you targeting Rob Clifton now? Rob, watch this guy.] among a qualified pool of four great Republicans, including Freeholder Robert Clifton, Ocean Twp. Councilman David Hiers, Marlboro Council President Jeff Kantor, and Spring Lake Councilman Brian Reilly. Freeholder Clifton has publicly supported this process, along with all of the Assembly and Senate candidates. [How 'bout the Sheriff?] They deserve our support and our unity.
The voices of dissention have made their voices heard. It is time for the voices of party unity to speak. I am writing to ask for your support to work together, and stand strong in the face of shrill voices [The shrillest voice in this debate is your own, Adam. Unless you're hearing some voices that the rest of us can't.] that would destroy our party. I need your help.


Freeholder Anna Little has issued a statement that she will not participate in Chairman Adam Puharic's screening process. You can read her statement in its entirety at More Monmouth Musings.
An interesting analysis of Chairman Puharic's strident response can be found at Concerned Monmouth Republican.

Monday, February 19, 2007


The 44th Annual Republican Lincoln Day Reception was held tonight at the Addison Park in Aberdeen. As predicted, Holmdel Mayor Serena DiMaso and Freehold Township Chairman Tom Apostle, co-chairs, ran an outstanding event. Over 300 people attended.
Tagg Romney was the invited speaker; he spoke on his father Mitt's presidential ambitions.
County Chairman Adam Puharic was there, as was Middlesex County Chairman Joe Leo. (Trivia: This is probably the first time that two GOP chairmen of two counties share a ZIP Code.)
All four Republican freeholders were in attendance; Director Bill Barham, Deputy Director Lillian Burry and Freeholders Rob Clifton and Anna Little.
Interestingly, and despite press stories that he would be barred, Manalapan Committeeman Joe Locricchio was there.
Others included Assemblymembers Sean Kean, Jen Beck, Amy Handlin and Sam Thompson; former County Chairman Fred Kniesler, Declan O'Scanlon, Sr. and Declan O'Scanlon, Jr., former Freeholder Director Tom Powers, former freeholders Clem Sommers and Frank Self, Howell Mayor Joe DiBella, Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg, Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, curmudgeonly County Counsel Malcolm Carton and his cousin, Middletown Chairman Peter Carton, Aberdeen Chairman Michael Borg, Manalapan Chairman Steve McEnery, Assistant County Counsels John Lane and Sal Alfieri, Matawan Councilman Paul Buccellato, Holmdel Deputy Mayor Alan Bateman and many others.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Sunday Afternoon
William H. Seward of More Monmouth Musings reports that the freeholder candidate screening has been postponed to March 3.

Sunday Morning, February 18
Adam has released the names of the Legislative candidates endorsed by the Steering Committee to appear before the March Convention. So far, nothing on the County level candidates, although Sheriff Joe Oxley and County Clerk Claire French have no opposition. When more information comes out, we'll post it here.
The legislative candidates are:
10th District: Sen. Andrew R. Ciesla; Assemblymen James W. Holzapfel and David W. Wolfe.
11th District: Assemblyman Sean Kean for Senate; retired Wall police officer David Rible, Mary Pat Angelini, , Monmouth Beach Commissioner Kim Guadagno and Neptune Committeeman Tom Catley for Assembly. Ocean Township Mayor Bill Larkin was eliminated in this round.
12th District: Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck for Senate; Colts Neck attorney Caroline Casagrande, Little Silver Councilman Declan O'Scanlon, Jr. and Fair Haven Councilman Tom Gilmour for Assembly. Jen Beck will face Manalapan Committeeman Joseph Locricchio, who opted to forgo the screening process, in the June Primary.
13th District: Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr.; Assembly Members Amy H. Handlin, PhD and Samuel D. Thompson, PhD.
30th District: Sen. Robert W. Singer; Assemblymen Ronald S. Dancer and Joseph R. Malone III.
The contested 11th and 12th District assembly teams will be narrowed down to two each at the convention.

Today, February 17, is the date scheduled for the meeting of the Steering Committee for the purpose of selecting a list of candidates to present at the March convention.

The screening committee membership is:
Senator Joe Kyrillos
Assemblyman Sean Kean
Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin
County Clerk Claire French
Surrogate Rosemarie Peters
Freeholder Director Bill Barham
Freeholder Lillian Burry
Aberdeen Chairman Michael Borg
Freehold Twp. Chairman Tom Apostle
Howell Chairman Norine Kelly
Little Silver Chairman Rick DeNoia
Manalapan Chairman Steve McEnery
Marlboro Chairman Sal Alfieri
Middletown Chairman Peter Carton
Wall Chairman Bob McKenna
County Chairman Adam Puharic (votes to break a tie)

County Vice Chair Molly Giamanco
Second Vice Chair Caroline Casagrande
Political Whip John Cantalupo
SERC Chair, Tom DeSeno
Leadership Council Chair Tom Gagliano
Finance Chair Andrew Lucas
Legal Council (Counsel) Michael Supko

It will be interesting who they choose. Will they prove multitudes of critics wrong and give both incumbent Freeholders Anna Little and Rob Clifton (with 2 others) a pass to the Convention? Such a move will also help slap down a particularly vicious and slanderous hate blog which has posted libelous material over the past few months.
When we have more material, we'll post it here.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Today is the 198th anniversary of the birth of the 16th President of the United States, and the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
"When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim that 'a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.' So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one."

Saturday, February 10, 2007


The county GOP sent out this notice about the guest speaker at Lincoln Day:

Tagg Romney To Be Guest Speaker At The 44th Annual Monmouth County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner

Please join us in welcoming Tagg Romney, son of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and senior advisor to the Mitt Romney for President Exploratory Committee, at the 44th Annual Monmouth County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner being held Monday, February 19th at Addison Park on Route 35 in Aberdeen.
Our cocktail hour starts at 6 pm with three hours of hors d’oeuvres and serving stations. The program will start at 7 pm featuring our exciting guest speaker and candidates. Tickets are just $45 per person.
This is the largest gathering of its kind in the State. Please join all of your elected officials and candidates for a night of good food, fellowship and fun!
As an agent of a federal candidate, Tagg Romney does not solicit and is not soliciting any funds in violation of federal election regulations. Specifically, he solicits only those funds drawn from a personal account within federal limits, and does not solicit funds from corporations, labor organizations, government contractors, or foreign nationals.

It appears that Mitt Romney has a lot of support among the leadership of the Monmouth County GOP.
While it is still early for the 2008 election, and whether you support Romney or someone else for president, this is a bit of positive news at a time when so much negative energy is around.
Positive? For a couple of reasons.
One is that, with talk of a possible early presidential primary, New Jersey becomes relevant once again on the presidential level. Hopefully, Mitt Romney will not be the last GOP presidential candidate we see in Monmouth County.
Another is that this is the first time in many years that there has actually been a guest speaker at Lincoln Day. It is said that big name guest speakers were once the norm at Lincoln Day, the biggest event on the County GOP calendar. Speakers would usually be some Cabinet or Congressional leadership figure. It is even said that George H. W. Bush spoke at a 1970's Lincoln Day.
So, with all that's going on, whether you support Romney or someone else or whether you support Chairman Puharic or not, come out and have a good time at Lincoln Day. Tom Apostle and Serena DiMaso ran a nice event last year, and this one promises to be nice, too.


That's right, folks, another Monmouth County Republican has joined the Blogosphere. You'll find Concerned Monmouth Republican on my links menu.
This blog offers some interesting takes on what's going on here in the Monmouth GOP. Welcome, CMR!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


William H Seward has an excellent post this morning which should be read by all Republicans who care about the future of our great party.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


"...you cannot turn a girl into a trial attorney and then try to turn her into a wilting rose."
...Freeholder Anna Little

Freeholder Anna Little has announced that she will not participate in County Chairman Adam Puharic's background check program, in which a candidate is recommended to voluntarily pay a $1,000 fee to have their background checked by an investigator with a political background.

"If he doesn't want me on the ticket, he should look me in the eye and say that."
...Freeholder Anna Little.

Exactly. If the chairman has any doubts about the freeholder's electability, he should sit down and calmly discuss it with her.
Instead, it appears that games are being played. From the January 10 Candidate Selection Process correspondence:

(2) Any candidate seeking the Organization’s nomination who is not an incumbent having served a full term in the office sought, must:
(a) submit a detailed resume;
(b) provide any and all additional information as determined by the Chairman which may be required in writing;
(b)[sic.] participate in a full and complete interview and interview process with the screening committee;
(c) if successfully screened, agree to participate in a Republican county convention; and
(d) agree that should they lose the Republican county convention, they will support the winner of the Convention and agree not to run against the Monmouth County Republican line as established by the Chairman.

The language very transparently targets Freeholder Little. Why? When this resulted in criticism, he backtracked the very next day:

On January 11, 2007 the Monmouth County Republican screening committee convened and voted unanimously to open all seats involved in the 2007 general election to the screening committee process.

Adam took office with much promise. He presented himself as his own man, and took efforts to distance himself from his predecessors, Fred Niemann and Bill Dowd. Recently, however, he appears to be on a search and destroy mission. For what or whose purpose?
Freeholder Little has performed well in office and has defended her seat in a very tough election. With control of the Board of Freeholders on the line, now is not the time to play games with the county slate.
Adam owes that to the candidates, the County Committee and the people of Monmouth County.

Monday, February 05, 2007


And it's a shame.
The Monmouth County Republican Blog has been critical of the Asbury Park Press' reporting and editorializing on Monmouth County government and the freeholders' campaign.
We can't be critical of this one.
In this editorial, the Press scores County Chairman Adam Puharic for his proposal to require candidates to put up $1,000 "to pay an investigator to sniff their dirty laundry."
I posted the following on William Seward's blog yesterday (Italics are from the editorial; my comments are in Boldface.):
  • Those who aren't chosen by the 24-member Republican screening committee as party-line candidates should have serious concerns about how the information will be used if they pursue a primary fight or an independent challenge to the Politburo-approved candidates.
  • And those who are chosen should have serious concerns, if elected, should they attempt to deviate from the "party line" while in office.
  • The fee alone could deter some candidates from running.
  • That may be part of the idea.
  • Puharic estimated the cost at $1,000, but other party members were told it would be $2,000 or $2,500. Puharic defended the plan, saying "background checks are something every big company does."
  • Possibly. But I guarantee that they do not spend $1,000, $2,000 or $2,500 a pop for the checks. That would be cost prohibitive and a bad business decision. No, they pay a small subscription fee for a service. The dollar amount leads me to question just who will be doing these background checks, and why such a high fee. Is Adam looking to throw business at an inflated price to a politically connected firm?
The Monmouth County Republican Blog has been critical of the Press, and I'm sure, will be again. We cannot, however, criticize them when our party leaders by their actions have brought the bad press upon themselves.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Four people have filed letters of intent with Chairman Adam Puharic for this year's freeholder race. They are:

  • Robert D. Clifton - Incumbent freeholder, former Mayor of Matawan. Clifton is completing his first three - year term on the board.
  • Anna C. Little - Incumbent Freeholder, former Highlands Borough Councilwoman. She is completing the one - year unexpired term of Amy H. Handlin, who resigned from the Board after taking a seat in the State Assembly.
  • J. David Hiers - Ocean Township Committeeman, former fire chief. Hiers had thrown his hat in the ring last year, but later withdrew and endorsed the candidacy of Howell Mayor Joseph DiBella.
  • Brian J. Reilly - Spring Lake Borough Councilman. Reilly also ran last year; after being defeated on the first ballot at the April 8th Convention he endorsed Andrew Lucas, who got the nomination.
  • A possible fifth candidate may file with Puharic today. UPDATE! Will Seward says it might be Freehold Township Committeeman Anthony Ammiano, who served as Mayor for 2006. UPDATED UPDATE!!! It's Marlboro Township Committeeman Jeff Cantor.
The Steering Committee will meet on Saturday, February 17th and select two candidates for each open position; those names will then be voted on at the County Convention on Saturday March 24th.
Candidates are expected to undergo background checks, for which they are asked to pay up to $1,000. There was talk that it would be up to $2,000, but the amount has been clarified in today's (2/2/07) Asbury Park Press by Chairman Puharic.