By Art Gallagher
The Republican presidential nomination has been decided. On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders and the FBI are still nipping at Hillary Clinton’s heels. A a national level, like most presidential years, the New Jersey primary will make little difference. However, this year Democrat voters have an important choice to make locally.
In addition to their presidential choice, voters in the Democrat primary next Tuesday, June 7, will choose two nominees for Monmouth County Freeholder.
Running on Hillary Clinton’s ticket with the support of Monmouth County Chairman Vin Gopal are Belmar Mayor “Lawless Matt” Doherty and Brenda Sue Fulton of Asbury Park.
Running on Bernie Sanders’ ticket are Laury Wills of Little Silver and Angelica Ashford of Manalapan.
Wills and Ashford were recruited by the Sanders campaign to help influence the ticket’s position on the primary ballot. Ashford is serious about winning the nomination and seeking the office. She is waging a modest campaign. Wills’s name is on the ballot, but she is not campaigning for the nomination.
Of the three serious candidates, only Doherty has any experience in elected office. Should he win a freeholder nomination, “Lawless Matt’s” record in Belmar will face intense public scrutiny. It won’t be pretty.
- Doherty is boasting of how he has not increased taxes in Belmar. How he did that..by raiding the beach and parking funds and increasing debt 123% will become county-wide news.
- While the rest of Monmouth County towns are dealing with the new annual property tax assessment program, under Doherty’s leadership, Belmar, like Jersey and Elizabeth, has not had a revaluation in over a decade. Doherty defied a Tax Board Order to perform a revaluation in 2013. The matter has been referred to the Attorney General.
- There’s a reason Doherty’s attorney asked Judge Katie Gummer for a gag order in the “Matt’s Law” case. The plaintiffs’ brief in that case lays out the business relationship’s between Doherty’s wife, Maggie Moran, and various vendors of Belmar’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The Doherty-Moran’s made a lot of money on Sandy. Their union and construction benefactors continue to cash in on the relationship and on Belmar’s recovery.
- Doherty has bragged about how every Belmar homeowner has recovered from Sandy. That is not the case and angry homeowners are beginning to come forth now that “Lawless Matt” is lying about them for his own political gain.
There is a lot more dirt that will come out about “Lawless Matt” should he win one of the Freeholder nominations.
For the last several years, Gopal’s campaigns have tried to fabricate scandals against county and municipal Republicans. This year, while they will likely try to do the same, Doherty’s record will be a big problem for the Democrats. One has to wonder if Gopal really vetted Doherty or if he was simply seduced by the special interest money that Doherty and Moran can raise.
Doherty will come in last in the freeholder race if he wins a nomination.
Democratic primary voters would be wise to nominate Fulton and Ashford for freeholder.
Fulton, a graduate of the first West Point class to admit women, is a LGBT rights trail blazer and the only candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder with a Wikipedia page.
A twenty year resident of Manalapan, the 55 year old Ashford is an IT professional with a Microsoft Certification and has worked as an executive assistant for corporate executives. Currently, she is a student at Rutgers where she is completing the bachelors degree she stopped pursuing when she got married. She is working part-time in retail and is the founder of a non-profit organization that supports survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
Unlike most New Jersey Democrats who are advancing policies that will pave over the beauty of Monmouth County and urbanize all of New Jersey, Ashford is running to preserve the quality of life we enjoy here in Monmouth. In an interview with MoreMonmouthMusings, Ashford said she wants to keep New Jersey the Garden State and prevent it from becoming “the bedroom or industrial state.” She is opposed to the fast track development and it’s destructive impact on the environment. As a freeholder, Ashford would seek to increase funding for Brookdale Community College and to address the school funding inequities in Freehold Borough.
We appreciate how upset Gopal get’s when MMM tries to influence Democrats. He told the Asbury Park Press that it is “disgraceful” I try to influence who his candidates are and that “It goes against what democracy is supposed to be.” Gopal demonstrates how little he understands democracy. He also misunderstands how good he is for MMM by being such an inept chairman.
From a selfish point of view, Doherty’s candidacy is great for MoreMonmouthMusings. Our traffic is up 59% since the Democrats kicked off the campaign season early. Our political ad revenue usually doesn’t kick in until late summer. Lawless Matt has been great for business and will probably continue to be.
While we fully expect the Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso will defeat Doherty and Fulton in November, this is a crazy election year and anything could happen. Giving Lawless Matt Doherty a foothold into Monmouth County government and a stepping stone to higher office, would not be good for Monmouth County or New Jersey. Monmouth County and the Monmouth County Democrats would be better served by nominating Angelica Ashford and Brenda Sue Fulton for Freeholder.
For more insight into how dangerous Lawless Matt Doherty is, click on the related articles below.