Freehold Township- The Monmouth County Republican Committee endorsed Brent Sonnek-Schmelz, a member of the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education, to challenge Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr in the November 8, 2016 election last night during their annual nominating convention at iPlay America.
Sonneck-Schmelz, 39, is an Eagle Scout, attorney, Wharton educated MBA and entrepreneur who announced to the world that he likes to wear short shorts in the summer when he won $100,000 as a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He currently works as the General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer of The Soccer Post, a family owned franchise system of soccer stores with 33 locations nationally, and as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of City Sports, a Boston based sports apparel retailer that he is working to relaunch.
Sonneck-Schmelz will have the Party line on the June 7 primary ballot in Monmouth County. If he is endorsed by the Middlesex County Republican Committee at their convention on March 16, he will have “the line” throughout the 6th Congressional District for the primary. State Senator Sam Thompson, the Chairman of the Middlesex Republicans was present for Monmouth proceedings and nodded with approval as Sonneck-Schmelz addressed the convention, an indication that Sonneck-Schmelz is also likely to be unopposed in Middlesex.
Over 300 Republican Committee members attended the convention where none of the nominees for Congress, Sheriff, Surrogate or Freeholder were opposed. Congressman Chris Smith was endorsed for reelection, as were Sheriff Shaun Golden, Surrogate Rosemarie Peters and Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso. Former Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini was elected to replace Christine Giordano Hanlon on the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Hanlon resigned from her State Committee seat when she become Monmouth County Clerk last April.
While Monmouth Republicans are united in their support of the County and Congressional candidates, they are, like most of the country, divided in their choice for the 2016 Republican Presidential candidate. In a straw poll of committee members, 33% were undecided or didn’t vote, businessman Donald Trump lead the field with 26%, Florida Senator Marco Rubio received 21%, Ohio Governor John Kasich 6%, Texas Senator Ted Cruz 4%, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush 3%, Doctor Ben Carson 2%. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who suspended his presidential campaign last week, got 5 votes. Also receiving votes in the straw poll for president were Freeholders Tom Arnone and Lillian Burry, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sheriff Shaun Golden. Democratic-Socialist Bernie Sanders got two votes.
Monmouth County Republicans will gather again tonight at the Sheraton in Eatontown for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Over 700 are expected for the dinner which Golden, the Monmouth GOP Chairman, announced was “sold out twice.”