The Monmouth County Democrats will hold a “mini-convention” this evening at the IBEW Local 400 Union Hall in Wall Township to formally nominate their slate of County and Legislative candidates for the June 2 primary.
MMM has learned that Hazlet Board of Education member Tom Herman will be a candidate for Assembly in the 13th legislative district, challenging incumbent Republicans Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon. Joining Herman on the Democratic ticket in the 13th will be Jeanne Cullinane, also of Hazlet, a political newcomer.
Monmouth County Chairman Vin Gopal has previously announced on his blog that Neptune Township Zoning Board Member Carol Rizzo will challenge incumbent Republican Freeholder John Curley. There has been speculation that Rizzo was seperated at birth from Rumson Democratic Chairman and former Democratic candidate for Surrogate, Michael Steinhorn.
Challenging Governor Chris Christie’s nominee for County Clerk, Christine Hanlon, will be Freehold Borough Councilman Kevin Kane.
In the 11th legislative district, Neptune Township Committeeman Eric Houghtaling is slated to take on incumbent Republicans Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande. Gopal had previously announced that workers compensation attorney Joann Downey of Freehold would join Houghtaling on the 11th district ticket, but that announcement has since been deleted from his faux news site, leading to speculation that the Chairman is still scrambling for a candidate in the only district where registration numbers indicate the Dems have a fighting chance, or that he may be a candidate himself. Gopal floated the idea of running himself last fall, and then backed down when he did not have the support of other Democratic leaders throughout the state.
Gopal is expected to defer the selection of the Assembly candidates in LD 30 and 12 to the Chairmen in Ocean County, Burlington County and Middlesex County.
Despite the fact that there are no competitive contests at the “Mini-Convention,” Gopal sent a complicated set of rules for voting to municipal Democratic Leaders last night. County Committee members are not voters at the convention. Rather, a complex formula that favors strong Democratic towns over most of the rest of the County, is being used to select voting delegates. A copy of the formula can be found here.
The public is welcome to attend the Mini-Convention as observers, according to the Monmouth Democratic website.