There are three seats on the Howell Township Council on the ballot in November. The Howell Democrats have three candidates, as do the Howell Republicans.
An Independent candidate, Michael Bernstein, submitted nominating petitions for his candidacy to Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon last Monday morning.
John McCabe, the Chairman of the Howell Democrats, John Bonevich, one of the Democrat candidates for Township Council and Amy Sara Cores, the Democrat candidate for State Senate in the 30th legislative district last year, signed Bernstein’s nominating petition. Five members of the Howell Democrat County Committee signed Bernstein’s petition. 13 people who signed Bernstein’s petitions also signed the petitions for the Democrats candidates.
Howell’s Republican candidates for council, Tommy Russo, Pamela Richmond and Robert Walsh said that the Democrats are colluding with Bernstein and that the Independent should be knocked off the ballot, in a formal challenge file with Hanlon yesterday.
Hanlon has till Wednesday to rule on the challenge.
Reached on the phone by MMM, John McCabe, Chairman of the Howell Democrats, said he signed Bernstein’s petition because the candidate asked him to and he feels he deserves to be on the ballot. McCabe denied the Democrats were colluding with Bernstein and said that he doubted Bernstein would get many votes. When asked how so many Howell Democrats came to sign Bernstein’s petiton, McCabe dodged the question and referred us to Bernstein. McCabe wouldn’t say he if he thought Bernstein’s presence on the ballot helps or hurts his Democrat candidates.
Bernstein has not returned our call.
Cores, the Democrat candidate for State Senate in the 30th district last year, said in an email that she is not a registered Democrat. Cores seems to have contempt for both the Democrats and Republicans in Howell. She seems to genuinely support Bernstein.
“I find it ridiculous that you suspect that the Howell Democrats are that well organized that they would conspire to put Mike on the ballot. I read the letter from Walsh and the other candidates and it is gibberish. More complaining by Republicans who are afraid to run on their own merit and fearful of the bad policies they have thrust upon our town,” Cores wrote.
Cores said that the Republicans, especially Walsh, are destroying the landscape of Howell and that the Democrats have not had as much of a chance to screw up yet. She said that Bernstein is a solid candidate with Howell in his heart, not his pocket.