By Art Gallagher
With the county reorganization behind us, the real political season in Monmouth County, and throughout New Jersey is about to heat up. While most voters and the mainstream media will not start paying attention until September, what happens at political clubs, committee meetings and county conventions between now and April will determine who the candidates are in the November elections.
The state legislature will be on the top of the ballot. Due to the pending redistricting, it is too early to speculate who the challengers might be or if Monmouth will continue to be divided into 5 districts. Once the new districts are announced, hopefully before the primary filing deadline of April 12, there will be a mad dash. Until then only anxiety and speculation.
Rosemarie Peters will seek a second term as Monmouth County Surrogate. No primary challengers in the rumor mill, no Democratic challengers in the rumor mill yet either.
The race to watch is for the nomination GOP nomination for Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry’s running mate.
Burry told MMM that she will seek a third term. She and Democratic Freeholder Amy Mallet’s seats are up this year. Mallet told Politickernj that she is running.
Early speculation for Mallet’s running mate includes Long Branch Councilman John Pallone, the congressman’s brother, and Marlboro Councilman Jeff Cantor who ran for Freeholder as a Republican in 2007, losing to John D’Amico.
Among Republicans, Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas has made his intentions known to several party leaders that he intends to seek the nomination. Lucas emerged as the nominee from a deeply divided GOP convention in 2006 before losing to Barbara McMorrow in the general election. McMorrow is now a GOP township committee member in Freehold Township.
Lucas will be challenged for the nomination by Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich, Sr. Rich unsuccessfully sought GOP Freeholder nominations in 2005, 2009 and 2010.
Wall Township Committee member George Newbury is signaling that he will challenge Lucas and Rich for the nomination.
Holmdel Mayor Serena DiMaso, who sought to be nominated in 2005 and 2008 is considering a run but has yet to make a decision. Former Middletown Township Committee member Tom Wilkens is also on the fence, after narrowly losing the nomination to Tom Arnone last year.
Let the games begin.