By Art Gallagher
Jim Gray of Manalapan, the former clerk of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, has been telling party leaders and other potential freeholder candidates that he will not be seeking the GOP nomination for freeholder this year. According to multiple sources, Gray will continue his service on the Monmouth County Library Board, and enjoy his retirement with his family. Gray did not return MMM’s phone call for confirmation.
Word that Gray was considering a bid, as reported here on January 10th, had a virtual field clearing effect. Now that Gray has chosen not to run, the race for the nomination to challenge Democratic Freeholder Amy Mallet is expected to heat up. Incumbent Republican Lillian Burry has indicated that she will seek a third term. No challenger is expected to Burry’s nomination.
Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas stopped short of declaring his candidacy when asked by MMM if he was running. He said that with Gray out of the race he would re-start his efforts to gauge the level of support he has among municipal chairs and other party leaders.
Wall Township Committee Member George Newbury and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich, Sr. are expected to seek the nomination.
Holmdel Mayor Serena DiMaso and former Middletown Township Committee Member Tom Wilkens, both veterans for the nominating process are considering bids, as is former Tinton Falls municipal chairman Michael Laffery.