Thursday, March 20, 2014


This year's election cycle has Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich both seeking reelection. Normally having two incumbents running should be a case closed matter, but this year we have a challenger in the race by the name of Howell Councilman and former Mayor Bob Walsh.
Walsh is challenging both incumbents, who have been running as a team as well as sending out their own individual flyers. The former Howell mayor has asserted that the Monmouth County Republican Party's brand is "tarnished"; when this was reported last month in More Monmouth Musings it generated somewhat of a "Howellanche" on Mr. Gallagher's blog.
Walsh and other critics of Burry and Rich say that the past scandal involving Brookdale Community College, and the recent indictment of former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas for a fraudulent land deal have tainted the freeholders. It has been pointed out that the freeholders were not involved with either scandal, and in fact could be considered, as the governing body of the county, to have been victimized as well. Bob Walsh, for his part, has been cautioned to tone it down; should he win Saturday's convention vote, he would have to run with either Burry or Rich, whoever got the other nomination.Having two freeholder candidates not on the same page with each other weakens the ticket and leaves an opening for the Democrats (remember the Democrats?) to get back on the Board of Chosen Freeholders, putting bosses in Elizabeth (Joe Cryan) and Camden (George Norcross) in control.
Burry has been on the Board since 2006 and previously served as Director in 2008 and 2010. Prior to being a freeholder she served on the Colts Neck Township Committee and as Mayor of Colts Neck, and was earlier a member of the Matawan Borough Council.
Rich is completing his first term as a freeholder. He had previously served on the Spring Lake Borough Council and earlier on the Lake Como Borough Council.
Walsh is no stranger to being a challenger. Due to a party split in Howell, he challenged the local organization by running and winning as an independent for an unexpired township council seat. After reelection, again as an independent, he was elected Mayor as an independent and served as mayor from 2009 through 2012 when he didn't seek reelection. It was during this time that Howell politics realigned, including a rapprochement between Walsh and his predecessor and erstwhile adversary, Joe DiBella.

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