January 2013 seems like a long time ago.
The years are supposed to go by faster as we get older. 2013 missed the memo, at least for me. President Obama’s second Inauguration and Freeholder John Curley’s second swearing in seem like a long time ago.
Selikia Joshia Gore started us off in 2013 with a timeless call to renew our humanity; the ongoing struggle of saints and sinners to love one another regardless of standing, status or creed. It is a winning message that works only by embracing our failures without resigning to them.
The Governor. Governor Chris Christie started the year lambasting House Speaker John Boehner and the Congressional Republicans for playing politics with Superstorm Sandy aid and ended the year as the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. In between he built a bi-partisan and multi-cultural coalition that reelected him with over 60% of the vote in Blue Jersey. Christie had the best year of any politician in America. Only Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin had better years globally.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. Menendez started the year on the losers list. Embroiled in a sandal of allegations of his cavorting with teenaged girls in the Dominican Republic and using the powers of his office to benefit the businesses of the donor who arranged the party, speculation was that he would resign as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if not his Senate seat. Menendez seems to have survived an FBI investigation into his relationship with Dr. Saloman Melgan unscathed.
At the end of the year, Menendez’s position seems secure. He is the leading, and most powerful, critic of President Obama’s foreign policy. His approval ratings are net positive 22 points in the last Monmouth University Poll. He got engaged to be married earlier this month.
Given where he started, Menendez may have had the best 2013 of any New Jersey public figure, other than Christie.
The Gramiccionis. The Wall Township power couple had a very good year. In March, Christopher, the Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor and U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, received orders to report for a 9 month tour of active duty in Afghanistan effective in August. Those orders were canceled in July, keeping Chris on the job fighting crime in Monmouth County and home for the holidays. Deborah was appointed by Governor Christie to be the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The job pays $289,657.
Monmouth County Republicans. Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso were always expected to be reelected on the strength of their records and due to the fact that Monmouth County Independent voters usually vote Republican. They make the winners list by virtue of fact that they ran as if they were behind, not taking any votes for granted. More importantly, they ran a positive campaign based on reducing spending, holding the line on taxes, and improving services, in the face of yet another negative campaign on the part of the Monmouth County Democrats.
Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation. Each member of Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation deserves more recognition than space will allow.
The 13th District Team of Senator Joe Kryillos and Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon trounced a Bayshore Tea Party Group backed primary challenge and exposed the group as crackpots who no longer warrant the respect and fear they once commanded.
The all women 11th District Team of Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini handily dispatched the only spirited, or funded competition the Democrats put forth in Monmouth County Districts.
Beck gets special recognition for her advocacy to the Fort Monmouth Economic Redevelopment Authority on behalf of the fort’s host communities, Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls, and her reminder to FMERA that it does not have the authority to alter a host community’s housing requirement.
O’Scanlon gets special recognition for his statewide campaign, via free media and social media, against New Jersey’s inequitable and dangerous Red Light Camera Progam. His campaign has been so effective that one of the red light camera bandits companies launched a paid advertising campaign in a futile attempt to confuse the public into supporting the Red Light Rip offs.
Casagrande and Handlin get special recognition for their outreach to the business and medical communities in an effort to create policy and legislation to boost the economy and to address the looming shortage of medical doctors in New Jersey.
Marlboro Democrats. LaHornicca, the coalition of Democrats and former Republicans built by Mayor Jon Hornik and Council President Frank LaRocca continues to win under the Democratic banner in otherwise Republican Marlboro.
Red Bank Republicans. Cindy Burnham broke the Democratic stranglehold on Red Bank’s municipal government with a razor thin 30 vote victory. Her running mate Sean DiSomma lost the second council seat by only 102 votes and might have won, if not for bullet voting by some of Burham’s supporters. DiSomma withstood an inaccurate and malicious character assassination launched by Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal with dignity and grace. DiSomma chose to stick to the issues rather than get into the mud with an accurate counter attack on the Red Bank Democratic incumbents. Both newcomers to politics, we’ll likely be hearing a lot more of both Burnham and DiSomma.
Eatontown GOP Chair Richard “Duke” Robinson who on his first try for elected office, was victorious, along with his running mate Kevin Gonzalez and will be sworn in for a three year term on Borough Council on January 1, 2014.
Patrick DeBlasio will earn as much $284,000 in six government jobs, if his appointment at CFO of the Borough of Highlands goes into effect as scheduled on May 1. Even if the Highlands Council reverses itself, DeBlasio is a winner, with 5 jobs and earnings of $244,000 with a commensurate pension upon retirement.
Mike Halfacre, the Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The former Fair Haven Mayor has made statewide and national headlines in a job that many, if not most, have never heard of, by busting bars serving watered down drinks, cracking down on underage drinking, and warning of the dangers of drinking and driving.
MoreMonmouthMusings Political Advertisers. 14 of the 21 candidates who advertised on MoreMonmouthMusings were elected. In races where only one side advertised on MMM, 8 of 9 candidates were victorious.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments