Well, officially it will be (will have been?) tonight when the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders declare it so in a proclamation honoring Gerri’s nearly 30 years of public service. I never understood why the Freeholders honor people with a day in their name at the end of that day. Gerri has made a deep enough positive impact in Monmouth County in both her professional career and her political activism that the Freeholders should name an entire month or a building, at the very least a conference room, in her honor.
Popkin is retiring as Monmouth County’s Director of Purchasing after 28 years on July 1. As Director of Purchasing, she supervised a staff of 12 and was responsible for acquiring $100 million in goods and services annually. Prior to becoming Director of Purchasing, Gerri was the Director of Consumer Affairs. For two years in the mid-1980’s, she was a executive with the New Jersey Lottery.
Former Monmouth County Prosecutor John Kaye is the new president of the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club.
Kaye takes over from Wayne Pomanowski who served as president for the maximum two years allowed by the club’s bylaws. 1st Vice President Gerri Popkin and 2nd Vice President Bob Burlew were unable to step up to the presidency due to other obligations. Howell Chairman John Costigan, the club Sergeant-At-Arms, declined the post because he is running to replace Monmouth GOP Chairman John Bennett on the GOP State Committee. Pomanowski said he suggested Kaye to Bennett.
Bennett said that Kaye was the unanimous choice of the club’s trustees at their January meeting. All other officers, except Pomanowski, retained their previous club offices. Pomanowski remains on the board.
The choice struck me as odd given 1) the wealth of up and coming talent in the Monmouth GOP and 2) Kaye’s rocky historical relationship with Govenor Chris Christie including the controversy surrounding Kaye towards the end of his distinguished 23 year career as Monmouth County Prosecutor.
The candidates to replace Assemblyman-elect Rob Clifton on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders will not address the Title 19 convention of Monmouth Republican Committee members when they convene on Saturday morning at Colts Neck High School.
Nominations will be accepted from the floor and then the balloting will commence.
Several party leaders told MMM that Chairman Joe Oxley decided on this agenda for the convention out of concern for maintaining a quorum. 50% plus one of the committee’s 770 members must be present during the voting in order for the election to be official.
There is talk among some committee members about making a motion from the floor to allow the candidates to speak.
There will be no problem obtaining a quorum of 386 if the candidates’ head counts are accurate. At a meet and greet hosted by the Atlantic Highlands Republican Committee last night, Howell Mayor Bob Walsh and Holmdel Deputy Mayor Serena DiMaso both told MMM they have 200 votes. Manalapan Township Committeeman Ryan Green said that he counting on at least 150 of the 300 GOP committee members he personally visited. MMM did not talk to Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle about his vote count.
The Monmouth County area Tea Parties are coming together to in order to make their presence felt in the upcoming county committee election to replace Assemblyman-elect Rob Clifton on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders.
Bob Gordon, co-founder of the Bayshore Tea Party Group, says that between the groups there are 25 county committee members eligible to vote on January 14th when the county committee convenes to elect Clifton’s successor. They are potentially a significant voting block.
The Tea Parties extended invitations this afternoon to each of the declared candidates to speak at the January 10th meeting. Following the candidates presentations and a Q and A, a secret ballot will be taken. The winner of the groups’ endorsement will be announced upon the tabulation of the ballots.
Howell Mayor Bob Walsh and Manalapan Deputy Mayor Ryan Green have accepted. Holmdel Deputy Mayor Serena DiMaso is juggling a scheduling conflict. Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle has yet to respond, according to Barbara Gonzalez, the another co-founder of BTPG.
The race for the Monmouth GOP nomination for Freeholder is coming down to the wire. The only safe bet at this point is that Howell Mayor Bob Walsh will not be the nominee. A late entry into the race, Walsh has impressed on the stump, but this is not his year. He has a future in county or state politics, if he wants it. Elected in Howell as an Independent, Walsh needs to build support within the Republican party in order to secure a nomination on a higher than municipal level.
The race as it stands now is a nail biter between Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich. Tonight’s speeches at the Monmouth County Affilitated Club’s candidates night ( Lakeside Manor, Rt 36, Hazlet, 6PM) will be delivered with the hope of closing the few undecided delegates and picking off delegates with “soft” commitments. A gaffe or a home run tonight could determine the nomination. Not that I want to create any pressure for the candidates.
Rich has emerged from the “oh him again” candidate to a tenacious contender. He has earned the respect of many and the admiration of his competitors. His presentation skills are strong. Rank and file Republicans and Tea Party groups both like him. If Rich wins the nomination it will be from the strength of his support from the municipal chairs, especially from the smaller coastal and bayshore towns.
Newberry is a solid guy. Honest, hardworking, dependable. A team player. While not yet comfortable on the county stage, George, if nominated will be a strong candidate in the general election against Democratic incumbent Amy Mallet and Sean Byrnes, if Byrnes is the Democratic nominee. If Byrnes runs for the legislature, Newberry is even stronger in the general.
Lucas is a proven winner in rough and tumble Manalapan politics. He is Lillian Burry’s first choice for a running mate. He has strong support in among chairs in the western part of the county. Andrew has run for Freeholder before, losing to Barbara McMorrow in 2006 when she was a Democrat. The is no shame in losing to McMorrow and losing a countywide race is no longer a disqualification for seeking another shot. Mallet lost an Assembly bid before winning her Freeholder seat and John Curley was successful in his second try for Freeholder.
The Monmouth GOP is fortunate to have such a deep bench of qualified candidates. Each of the four gentlemen pursuing the nomination this year could win the general election and serve with distinction. The close race is an indication of the difficulty of the choice.
The selection committee meets Saturday morning. MMM will have the result first.