By Art Gallagher
Throughout the spring and summer the conventional wisdom has been that the Monmouth GOP will not face serious challenges in legislative and county races of 2011. 2011 is supposed to be a “good Republican year.”
It still could turn out that way. Probably will. But MMM has learned that the Democrats think they have unexpected opportunities.
On the legislative level, the Trenton Democratic machine has taken interest in the new 11th district.
Back in April after the new legislative map was released the Democrats were scrambling to field a slate of candidates. No Democratic elected officials would challenge Republican incumbents Senator Jennifer Beck or Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini. Now the Democrats think the 11th is in play and will dedicate financial and human resources to elect Ray Santiago to the Senate and Marilyn Schlossbach and Vin Gopal to the Assembly.
Both sides fear that Independent Assembly candidate Dan Jacobson will draw votes away from them and could end up being a spoiler. In his column in last week’s triCityNews, Jacobson said that he expected to take votes from both sides and that he would need 20% of the voters to cast an uninformed protest vote for him in order to win a seat. Jacobson said he expects Beck, Casagrande and Angelini to prevail in November.
On the county level, the Democrats are planning a character assassination on Freeholder Lillian Burry. They will allege conflicts of interest on Burry’s part going back to her tenure as Mayor of Colts Neck and continuing in Freehold.