Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Middletown Township is Monmouth County's largest municipality in population; it's also right up there in land area. It stretches from the tip of Sandy Hook all the way to Lincroft, nearly on the doorstep of Western Monmouth.
Politically, it is a must-win in order to carry the county.
But all is not right in the Middletonian behemoth. A long-simmering party split has in recent years reached a slow boil, with the Democrats under local boss Joe "King" Caliendo benefiting in the process, and by currency, the county Dems.
What once was fought out in the primary and forgotten by Labor Day has now become a full-time pursuit. The two factions would get together, with Joe Azzolina hosting Pete Carton's local GOP Headquarters on Joe's property on Route 35. That's all a distant memory now; the HQ building has been bulldozed for lo these several years now.
Caliendo has benefitted big time in the last two years, with two of his Democrats being elected to the Township Committee. One more and all the GOP infighting will be moot.
Last year, things got really bizzare. Joe Azzolina, the longtime Republican legislator and former municipal chair, publicly backed the local Democrats in a mailer. And, from the other faction, Planning Board Chairperson Judith Stanley-Coleman backed a write-in candidate in Highlands, and is said to be supporting the local Democrats there this year. And that's not even in Middletown!
Wow! You just can't make this stuff up, campers!
With all these Republicans backing Democrats, it's no surprise that the Democrats are making gains.
In spite of a political scene that seems like a cross between The Jerry Springer Show and the bar scene from Star Wars, the local GOP seems to have been doing a pretty decent job governing the township, which makes it all the more imperative to maintain the Republican majority there, as well as keeping the vote pluralities high for the freeholders and top of the ticket.
I'll close with Art Gallagher's poignant question, which Democrats hate to be asked and can't answer: "Where in New Jersey are Democrats doing a better job governing than Republicans are doing in Middletown and Monmouth County?"

1 comment:

Art Gallagher said...

Where did you get that ugly font? :-)