Niemann Endorses Bennett, Says “You cannot be a Party Leader and an Elected Official”

Fred Niemann. Photo via ElderAbuseInNJ.com

Fred Niemann. Photo via ElderAbuseInNJ.com

Citing his personal experience on how difficult the job of Party Chairman is, former Monmouth Republican Chairman Fred Niemann issued an endorsement letter for John Bennett today.

Niemann served one term as Monmouth GOP Chair from 2004 -2006, a tumultuous time in the Party’s history that included the Operation Bid Rig arrests, raucous nominating conventions and the emergence of blogs and other new media.

While praising both Bennett and his opponent for Chairman, Sheriff Shaun Golden, Niemann argued that an elected official can not manage the conflicts or make the tough decisions a Chairman must make.

“You are either an elected official or a party leader,” Niemann said, “You can’t be both.  To be both is an inherent conflict of interest. As an elected official , you interact with other elected officials daily, weekly or monthly.  You develop close personal relationships.  How can you have that ‘heart to heart’  talk about ‘why you can’t run’ or ‘why you are no longer electable.’  How can you serve the greater good of the party over the private interests of your elected co-officials?  The answer is you can’t. You cannot be a party leader and an elected official. You are one or the other.”

Niemann had such a “heart to heart” with the much beloved former Freeholder Ted Narozanik in 2006, forcing Ted to retire.   Andrew Lucas of Manalapan was then nominated at a contested nominating convention, over former Howell Mayor Joe DiBella. DiBella conceded the nomination to Lucas rather than wage a court battle over alleged voting irregularities at the convention.  Niemann then declined to run for a second term as Chairman, citing fund raising difficulties.  Lucas, running with Anna Little for Freeholder and Rose Marie Peters for Surrogate, became the first Republican to lose a county-wide race since Niemann lost the Surrogate’s race to Patricia Bennett of Eatontown in 1985.

“Oh Christ! Maybe I should vote for Shaun,” said one of Bennett’s strongest supporters, who had been a Niemann antagonist last decade, when informed of Niemann’s endorsement.

“Who’s next?  Anna Little and Barbara Gonzalez? Adam Purharic?” a Golden supporter joked.

“Compounding the relationship issues are ‘public image’ and ‘electability’ issues,” Niemann continued, “Elected officials must often avoid controversial issues and ‘bad press’ in favor of having the Chairman deal with those unpleasant public issue(s) and policies.  The Press feeds on rumors, gossip and confidential sources.  By being both Chairman and an elected official you are inherently compromised.   By being Chairman, you risk alienation and the loss of your elected position in the next general election because of your status as Chairman and an elected official.  By losing your elected position, you do a disservice to the party.  Thus, being a Chairman and an elected official is an undesirable combination.

Niemann said that Golden “should openly discuss with you why my position is wrong and incomplete.”

“I can handled it,” Golden said openly in response to Niemann’s letter, “I’m not going to let this nonsense distract me from delivering my message of growing, strengthening and diversifying our Party. My forward looking message is being very well received throughout the county, which is very exciting and gratifying.”

Posted: June 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, John Bennett, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP, Shaun Golden | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

23 Comments on “Niemann Endorses Bennett, Says “You cannot be a Party Leader and an Elected Official””

  1. I love how said at 7:03 pm on June 5th, 2014:

    The lawyers are sticking together.

  2. Lawyered Up said at 7:51 pm on June 5th, 2014:

    What is the old saying, “600 attorneys at the bottom of the ocean – a good start”?

  3. Wait a minute... said at 7:55 pm on June 5th, 2014:

    ….Based on Niemann’s logic, State Senator Joe Kyrillos could not have served as the Republican State Chairman … and isn’t the current State Chairman Sam Raia also a Mayor? …. and, gee, our own Governor Chris Christie could not lead the Republican Governors’s Association…

    Hail Mary.

  4. Middletowner said at 8:10 pm on June 5th, 2014:

    Would he say that to Sen. Thompson?

  5. Where's Barry? said at 9:41 pm on June 5th, 2014:

    Where’s the good Senator Goldwater these days? He could surely offer some valuable insight on the topic.

  6. Oh the hypocracy! said at 7:39 am on June 6th, 2014:

    All of the comments above fully nullify Niemans claim. Stay on the bench if you don’t want to play in the game. He spouts off like he is god! Your opinion isn’t that important to me … But thanks anyway!

  7. Harry Potter said at 12:34 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    That picture looks like Draco Malfoy’s graduation photo

  8. Oh, and said at 2:52 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Shaun doesn’t have several lawyers working for/ supporting him?? Bit of a disingenuous, silly,and hypocritical observation, no?

  9. Barry AuH2O said at 3:19 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Neimann didn’t do a bad job. He never had a chance.

    Once people realized they could manufacture alliances between bigger towns, or little towns, or some combination of towns, geographic or otherwise, and then bring down a chairman (like when Neimann brought down Dowd) fate was sealed so that no chairman will ever be safe again.

    Dowd was a Middletown guy, and Neimann wasn’t. So two years later, even though he didn’t do a bad job by most objective standards, he was essentially forced out. In comes Puharic. “I am beholden to nobody” he claimed. But his main opponent was Jim Gianell, nemesis of Middletown. So Puharic had Middletown’s backing.

    Puharic was awful, and even Middletown abandoned him. But, look, Middletown’s own, Joe Oxley was running. He won by acclamation. Middletown was back in power.

    When Joe stepped down, the heir apparent was Middletown-backed Christine Hanlon.
    But Bennett squeaked out a razor-thin margin of victory, relying, in part, on an anti-Middletown theme.

    And even though Bennett hasn’t done a bad job, he isn’t a Middletown guy, and Middletown hates that. So who comes along to challenge? Middletown-backed Sheriff Golden.

    Bennett has done nothing wrong. Golden could be a great Chair.

    But make no mistake about it, this is all about Middletown. What Middletown wants, it usually gets.

  10. @ Mr. Neimann said at 3:40 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Would you say the same thing to Joe Kyrillos who served as State Chairman and Sam Thompson who serves as Middlesex Chairman?

    There were no problems there. So, is this just about lawyers scratching each others back?

    Please, we have heard enough on this issue.

    A County Committee Person

  11. Your "H2O" ain't "Au", Barry said at 4:45 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    So Barry, you’re back. Were you ever truly away? Or just harnessed by the ethical restraints of your government position?

    Middletown. Always about Middletown. How sad, as if the Middletown County Committee somehow has control of the size of its town and the number of committeepeople that size dictates. And because they are bigger than your hometown, they are to be vilified.

    “Barry”, you ain’t “Au”; you are green with envy and your analysis wreaks of childish jealousy. Go back and sulk over the endorsements you didn’t get when you ran for higher office. Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Sour grapes make for your sour whine.

  12. Barry Goldwater said at 5:41 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Nice try for both AuH2O and “your”, but that ain’t me.

  13. Looking forward to June 10th! said at 7:53 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Shaun, you can’t keep dodging an issue by calling it a non-issue. This is the fourth party leader in our county that questions why holding both offices is in the best interest of our party. – McEnery, Graziano, Niemann and Bennett. No one appears to argue that we have raised contributions and won elections under Bennett. Why would you challenge the chairman at this time. Seems like your entire campaign revolves around the use of social media. Maybe a better service to the party would have been to assist in a collective GOP effort. Your choice to me seems to be more about ego than the good of the party.

  14. Henry VI said at 9:40 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    “But Bennett squeaked out a razor-thin margin of victory, relying, in part, on an anti-Middletown theme.”

    Bennett, Niemann, Oxley, Dowd, Puharic, just more attorneys looking to control the party so they can feed off the soliciting of legal services from municipalities they can influence and control. Time for a change!

    FACT IS McEnry made Bennett chairman! If Bennett DID NOT cut the deal with McEnry for Sue Cohen to be the Vice Chair, 2 years ago, Christine (another attorney) would have seen in SOLID win!

    Unfortunately for Christine, she helped give her chairwomanship away. Christine’s lost was clearly due to the large number of vacant committee seats from her own patch in Ocean.

    Bennett squeaked in two years ago, but will not this time around.

    Shaun is looking solid from all over the county.

  15. Time For Shaun Golden to Debate Bennet said at 9:43 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    What is Shaun afraid of??? We are quickly running out of time.

    Good arguments have been raised why Shaun Golden SHOULD NOT be Chairman. He would strong arm the Freeholders into granting him pay raises and funding his department over and above its usual budgetary funding.

    Some will say wouldn’t the Freeholders have the fortitude to say no?? The answer is NO!! They can be withheld off the line when it comes to re-election. This is a very bad situation starting to emerge here.

    What is Golden’s ulterior motive(s)? We know he can’t run his own department effectively. I really don’t want to get into specifics, but it is generally known what he has done and who benefitted.

  16. @Henry VI said at 10:57 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Not sure if you were at the last convention, but Christine lost because of her speech. The lack of experience was obvious. The Midetown machine could not compensate for her inexperience. Same will be the outcome here / but Bennett will wine by a larger margin. And make no mistake the county committee has put the Golden – Handlon connection together. There is one large law firm standing to gain from a Golden victory. There was no other reason for Shaun to run. Bennett has raised more money than ever before and won all the races. This challenge comes from a place of ego and he is bring used by people that can’t be satisfied.

  17. @Henry VI said at 11:00 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Not sure if you were at the last convention, but Christine lost because of her speech. The lack of experience was obvious. The Middletown machine could not compensate for her inexperience. Same will be the outcome here – but Bennett will win by a larger margin. And make no mistake the county committee has put the Golden – Handlon connection together. There is one large law firm standing to gain from a Golden victory. There was no other reason for Shaun to run. Bennett has raised more money than ever before and won all the races. This challenge comes from a place of ego and he is being used by people that can’t be satisfied.

  18. People, please, said at 11:05 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    You don’t seem to understand the significance or problem with a County elected being a County Chair: the folks mentioned are/ were NOT serving in two capacities for one entity. There is a difference, and a perceived conflict, like it or not,that the other side will absolutely exploit: if Shaun did win, he’d start out with immediate personal attacks,on him, from Dems, and the press,which absolutely weakens his future, and,the county ticket, for November: this is NOT a personal attack on the man: this is great fear for him, as a current officeholder and future candidate, as well as for two freeholder seats we need to hold, this year, period. There is no shame in his realizing these problems, now,and stepping aside, for his and the greater good..he will remain one of the most popular sheriffs in NJ, and a guy with a bright, higher elective future!

  19. County cockroaches are getting restless said at 11:41 pm on June 6th, 2014:

    Everyone on that owes Bennett for a job or position is coming out of the woodwork. It’s sad and disgusting at the same time. Everyone knows Bennett is jealous of Gilmore and wishes he could line his pockets as well as Gilmore does in ocean cty. At the end of the day, the county committee is sick of being inundated with requests for donations and not being shown any gratitude or thanks!

    Once in a while you have to feed the troops! At least Golden sounds sincere when he says thank you!

  20. What are you talking about??? said at 12:01 am on June 7th, 2014:

    Because people are defending Bennett and feel Golden SHOULD NOT run for chairman you call them cockroaches??? Shame on you!!!

    Even former prosecutor John Kaye in a very eloquent letter believes Golden should not run. He would be too conflicted.

  21. Seriously? said at 4:01 pm on June 7th, 2014:

    so now we stoop to another low against fellow Republicans?..with all the advanced degrees some hold, it would appear that perhaps their early, grade school report cards showed some problems with “conduct,” “shows self control,” and “works well with others..” for those who seem to be jealous of county workers, you need to know that most are either permanent civil service, unionized, or appointed with statutory terms: so job “fear” need not enter. Time to grow up and face the fact that not everyone agrees with you: we call that freedom, we can that being an American..see you at the polls!

  22. @Seriously, said at 3:13 pm on June 8th, 2014:

    Why would anybody be jealous? I must have missed something because I don’t remember seeing a bunch of people being jealous of county workers. I can’t find it anywhere. Can you share the link to the page? I’d like to read that thread.

  23. Some just seem obsessed said at 9:58 pm on June 8th, 2014:

    with trash-talking them, which is irrelevant to this race,and peoples’ right to their opinion, wherever they work,so..(btw, most county workers do a really good job for the taxpayers- just ask the freeholders- they often say that,in their speeches.)