With the Monmouth County Republican Election Day Sweep **long** behind us it’s time to look forward to the next big race, and I don’t mean the Presidential election of 2012, I mean the race for the open Monmouth County Freeholder seat now that Rob Clifton is moving up to the State Assembly. It’ll be up the Monmouth County Republican Committee Members (and I bet there are quite a few who don’t even know it) to vote for his replacement and it seems the horse trading and whisper campaigns have already begun, in fact they seem to have started a while back as if Rob’s election to the Assembly was certain.
My usual disclaimer: Don’t expect to get insider information out of me. If I know, or think I know something, I’m sure its that I’m among the last to know and it’s only a repeat of information someone else passed on to me.
Here are the names I’ve heard or been told are considering seeking the seat, and some names that I’ll add to spread my own rumors and get the discussion going.
Bob Burlew of Keyport seems to be interested in the seat according to multiple people. I’d normally be glad to name my sources names here but the truth is that at least three different people mentioned this to me and I speak to a lot of people about a lot of different things so I don’t want to misquote anyone. I don’t know anything about Bob Burlew, but I have met Bob a few times, seems like a nice enough guy. Maybe my old pal, Keyport Mayor Bob McLeod, or some other Keyport reader/Bayshore guy can chime in with all of the positive things about Bob, you can keep any negatives to yourself, this should be a friendly contest, right? FWIW – Bob has a brother, Ed. Ed was one of the recent county elections that went to a recount. I must have ADD or something as that tid-bit is irrelevant, but i figured I’d pass it on so readers would be know.
Speaking of Bobs, it’s hard to overlook that Howell Mayor Bob Walsh, who dropped out of this year’s primary the morning of the nominating votes, ran the circuit with Gary and Lillian. There was not a candidate’s forum or fundraiser (that I attended) that I didn’t also see Bob Walsh. Either Bob is a good, dedicated Republican (like me!) or Bob (and I) wanted to remind folks he’s around and ready to serve as a Freeholder. For the record, I am not available or ready to serve as a Freeholder, but thanks for considering me! I appreciate your support but I’m going to have to turn you down, this time. Worth noting that Bob Walsh seems to have a friend in Jim Gianell from Red Bank and Jim seems to have a lot of solid connections, and more important, I’ve spoken to Jim enough to believe that Jim is another libertarian leaning/conservative Republican so I think if a like-minded guy is pushing Walsh, it’s because Walsh is probably on the same page too. I can confirm that Bob is a likable guy, his line is that Howell is 53,000 people and 63sq miles and everyone of them from end to end love him — his ego might be burst but I think he’s mistake, my parents who live in Howell would love him more if someone repaved Larabee Blvd at Alexander down near Rt547/9 where those Russian churches are, it’s pretty bad – I won’t drive my beater car down that road. However, of slightly more importance, and also noteworthy, Bob Walsh may or may not have the support of someone I’m pround and honored to refer to as my friend, Howell Chairman Uncle John Costigan, who seemed to be supporting Lucas earlier in the year.
Speaking of Lucas, Manalapan Republicans won control of the township there. Lucas could be interested in the open seat, and his town would do just fine already in Republican hands, but I suspect his Preserved Farm purchase with the Freeholder board and his effort to get to State Assembly over Clifton may eliminate support for Lucas, who since I know you all care about my opinion, seems to be a good person and as far as I know and can tell from the few candidate forums I’ve spoken to him at, a good Republican. His story about when his child was born makes me laugh – the punchline is “…looks just like you!”, HA! Ask him for his views and position on abortion and he’ll tell you the story; the answer is that he’s solidly pro-life.
Outside of the Bobs and Lucas, another name to consider might be former Freeholder candidate and re-elected Town Committeeman, Wall’s George Newberry. I was, and still am, a big fan of George. Sure, I’ll hear how he comes across as a boring guy (which I don’t think is accurate) who speaks a little slower than a John Curley or Tom Arnone, but I had the pleasure of talking to George enough to believe that George is involved for the right reasons, and those reasons are doing the right things for taxpayers. The claims were that George was Chairman Joe Oxley’s “pick” this year. Chairman Oxley never directly told me George was his choice, never seemed to push him over any one else and if George was his “pick”, then I think Joe was backing a solid candidate and I don’t see why Joe, as a voter and a Chairman, shouldn’t get a vocal say and be able to support a guy he likes, if Joe even likes him, how would I know? And don’t get me wrong, after getting to know Gary, I’ve come to love him and I think the committee as a whole got it right to nominate Gary over George this time, but with a seat open again, in my mind, George is a good fit and ready to serve, today, along side John, Tom, Lillian and Gary, should he be interested, and I think he was the second highest vote getter at the nominating convention so some other folks probably agree with me. Of course, the knowledge of the masses in the entire committee may find another Gary Rich or John Curley, and that could certainly trump George as a candidate.
Some other folks worth noting, Joe Irace of Oceanport is always a well liked and popular guy who is a good, solid Republican.
Ocean Township has a list of good, solid Republicans they could push, Joe Hadden being one of them, and with State Committee Woman Christine Hanlon and Mary Pat from his town, he’d seem to have some strong advocates. Plus I’d volunteer for Joe and, clearly, I’m a proven King Maker!
Neptune Township has a young, rising star Jim Frostick who has Don and Jeff Beekman on the ally list along with (I think) the Neptune regulars in Jim Granelli, Warren Lapp and maybe/hopefully Former Mayors Mike Golub and Tom Catley. In a case of full disclosure — I work in the private sector as a VP of IS for the company where Jim is VP of Sales. If you haven’t met Jim Frostick yet, I suggest you do – he’s very inteligent, and humble, and has an outstanding work ethic and ability to be reasonable and rational. He currently serves on the BOE in Neptune, and I think he’s capable of much bigger things.
Middletown has it’s own long list of good Republicans, currently elected or not, it could push. I don’t personally know them, but I’m sure Chairman Carton does and with a large, active committee, I’m sure they could do well.
I’d also like throw Mayor Mike himself, Mike Halfacre from Fair Haven, who backed out of a US Congress run last year, into the race for a Freeholder seat, except I won’t because I’ve met his wife and she might not be interested in having Mike be a Freeholder. Mike has done a GREAT job addressing property tax issues in his town, I’d bet he could do a great job for the county as well. I should disclose: I’ve been the shooting range with Mike, he’s a very, very pro-2A guy, a decent shot and a heck of a nice guy to be around, so maybe I’m biased. Mike has his own set of anonymous trolls that like to bad mouth him here on MMM, but those clowns aside, Mike certainly seems to be a qualified guy with the right track record for a Freeholder. Plus the trolls will likely go after Mike for issues that just don’t apply to a Freeholder, ignore the trolls.
And again, don’t take my word for anything or think I’m here to tell you exactly who is running as if these are the only contenders, nor am I telling you who to nominate and vote for, I’m just an Average No One taking names (of Freeholder Candidates) and kicking ass (because if Lillian can say “kick ass” then so can I!). I’m sure in the vast field of anonymous cowards, one of you knows of at least one more name to consider or has some more solid information to share.