Monmouth GOP has its pants on the ground
Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo. Photo via facebook
Their nominating convention is not until March 22 at the IBEW Local 400 union hall in Wall Township, but Monmouth County Democratic freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo are off and running full speed ahead.
Luttrell, the Holmdel attorney who came in last against Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso, as well as his running mate Brian Froelich, after being endorsed by the Asbury Park Press last year, announced he was running again almost immediately after his sad showing.
Grillo is the former Executive Director of the Monmouth Democrats and the municipal chairman of the Asbury Park Democrats. Like Luttrell, he has never held elected office. Grillo was briefly a candidate for the Asbury Park City Council last year, withdrawing from the race prior to the filing deadline. Since leaving his position as ED of the Monmouth Dems, Grillo has worked for his family’s tile company in Howell.
Grillo stepped up his game over the weekend with a fundraising email blast that announced his candidacy. He raised $6,200 online through Sunday. A Democrat who does not want to be known for talking to a Republican leaning site told MMM that Grillo has raised over $20,000 for his campaign including checks collected offline. His stated goal is to raise $50,000 by the June 3rd primary.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 10th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: Andrew Lucas, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Bob Walsh, Burke Farm, Gary Rich, Joe Grillo, John Bennett, Larry Luttrell, Lillian Burry, Lucas Farm Deal, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth Dems, Monmouth GOP, Monmouth Republicans, Peter Burnham, primary, Vin Gopal | 3 Comments »
Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination. Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race.
Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, a candidate for one of two available nominations for freeholder at the Monmouth Republican Convention on March 22, said that the Monmouth Republican Party’s brand has been tarnished by the Burke Farm deal with Andrew Lucas and by the Brookdale Community College scandal that resulted in former Brookdale President’s Peter Burnham’s conviction for official misconduct and theft.
Incumbent freeholders, Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich are seeking to be nominated for reelection at the convention.
Speaking on the record, Walsh said that many “neutral people, people who know nothing” that he encounters think that the Lucas farm deal and the Brookdale scandal are examples of Republican corruption. Walsh said that he talks to these people and tries to correct their perception, “but it is out there and a lot of people think that way, it’s a common thread.”
Walsh was very careful not to speak negatively about Burry and Rich specifically while discussing his own candidacy. ”I don’t consider that I am challenging them,” he said, “I am seeking an office according to the rules. No one is elected forever. People complain and complain about government, yet keep electing the same people. That’s what’s wrong with this country.”
“People say that government should be run as a business. I have a very good record in business, as a licensed banker, and a very good record as mayor of Howell that I am proud of. I think I am an asset and will be an asset to the freeholder board. I have energy, passion and the flexibility to do the job.”
While not specifically accusing anyone of complacency, Walsh said that his candidacy and his service, if elected, would be a battle against complacency in county government.
“Complacency has no place if public service,” he said, “I am very pleased with some of the things I see happening since I started running.” He declined to elaborate.
Walsh said he expected that this November’s election will be more contentious that usual.
Posted: February 26th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: Bob Walsh, Gary Rich, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | 52 Comments »
Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D’Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.
Former future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez dropped his lawsuits against MLB last week and accepted his 162 game suspension for doping with performance enhancing drugs.
The suspension will cost A-Rod $25 million and very likely his induction to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
No one from the Red Sox Nation, not even a fan, has called for the Yankees to be banned from playoff contention in 2014 due to A-Rod’s transgressions. No sports writer has suggested Derek Jeter is dirty because A-Rod cheated or called for asterisks to be placed next to Mariano Rivera’s records.
Too often in politics when a member of one team is accused or convicted or wrongdoing, the rivals attempt to paint the entire team as dirty. Too often journalists hungry for content cooperate with the slander.
Thus is the case in Monmouth County were former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, a Republican, was indicted last week on charges of wire fraud, identity theft, bank fraud and providing false statements to the IRS and FBI. A private equity manager, Lucas is accused of deploying a complex and fraudulent scheme to come up with the funds to purchase a farm in Manalapan which he then immediately tried to sell the development rights on to New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program. The Farmland Preservation Program is funded by the state, county and municipal governments.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 11th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Media, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, Andrew Lucas, Burke Farm, Lucas Farm | 6 Comments »
Ed McKenna, Red Bank Green photo
Monmouth County roads will be a little safer for the next seven months.
Former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna, a Democrat, was convicted of driving while intoxicated last week in Tinton Falls Municipal Court. He received a seven month suspension to his drivers license and a $764 fine.
McKenna was arrested by a New Jersey State Trooper on May 13, 2013 after being involved in a one car accident at mile marker 108 of the Garden State Parkway. He scored nearly three times the legal limit in a breathalyzer test.
Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett did not issue a statement accusing all Democrats of being drunks who are unfit for office. Bennett’s restraint stands in stark contrast to that of his Democratic counterpart, young Vin Gopal. Gopal, 28, accused “local and County Republican politicians” of being corrupt last week after former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas was indicted for allegedly fraudulent acts to secure the purchase of a farm.
Posted: February 11th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, John Bennett, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Vin Gopal | Tags: Driving while intoxicated, DWI, Ed McKenna, Edward McKenna, Former Red Bank Mayor, Garden State Parkway, John Bennett, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth Republicans, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Vin Gopal | 14 Comments »
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal
Just as he did last October when he falsely accused a Republican candidate for Red Bank Council of being a fugitive, Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal is lying today in his attempt to make political hay over the arrest of former Manalapan Mayor Andew Lucas.
Lucas was indicted for alleged actions in connection with his purchase of Burke Farm.
The ever deceptive young chairman issued a statement to PoltickerNJ and other outlets that alleges a scandal regarding the sale of the development rights to the farm to the state/county and municipally funded Open Space program. Gopal say blatantly accuses the Republican members of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders of being involved in the scandal. The U.S. Attorney thoroughly investigated the sale of the farm, with the cooperation of Monmouth County officials. No charges have been filed regarding the sale of the development rights. No one other than Lucas has been charged with any wrong doing.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 7th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Manalapan, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: Andrew Lucas, Andrew Lucas arrested, Burke Farm, John Bennett, Lucas Farm, Manalapan, Manalapan Township Committee, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Democrats, Monmouth County Republicans, Monmouth Dems, Monmouth GOP, Vin Gopal | 31 Comments »
Bayshore Tea Party Group member Frank Gonzalez, husband of the group’s co-founder, Barbara, installs homemade lawn signs on Rt 35 in Middletown during the 2013 Monmouth County Republican primary campaign
Bayshore Tea Party Group co-founder Barbara Gonzalez told HuffPost that her group has nearly 1000 members and that they are staunch supporters of former Highlands Mayor Anna Little’s quest to unseat Congressman Frank Pallone, in an article posted last evening.
“If you don’t get someone in who is totally willing to fight the establishment, it will never change,” Gonzalez told HuffPost.
Little lost to Pallone in 2010 and 2012 with BTPG’s support, but Gonzalez thinks it will be different this year.
Gonzalez said her membership roll has grown by “a couple of dozen new members” since earlier this month when the Bridgegate controversy broke.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 30th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Anna Little, Barbara Gonzalez, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Monmouth County, Monmouth GOP | Tags: 4 am robocall, Anna Little, Barbara Gonzalez, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Bob Gordon, Bob Walsh, Bridgegate, Declan O'Scanlon, Frank Pallone, Gary Rich, Joe Kyrillos, Leigh-Ann Bellew, Lillian Burry, Monmouth GOP, Monmouth GOP Freeholder Nomination, Serena DiMaso, Shaun Golden, Tom Arnone, Wake up call | 17 Comments »
Walsh won’t say if he’s running for freeholder
Howell Councilman Bob Walsh. photo via facebook
It’s been almost two months since Howell Councilman Bob Walsh told us he would challenge Republican freeholder incumbents, Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich, at the upcoming Monmouth Republican Nominating Convention. In our early December interview, which Walsh claimed he thought was off the record after publication, he said he would be sending a letter to member of the Monmouth County Republican Committee shortly after the first of the year.
Now, at the end of January, there’s been no letter, and Walsh wouldn’t say if he’s running when we called him late last week. ”I’m busy at work and have a few things to take care of; go to the doctor for my annual check up. Then I’ll decide,” Walsh said.
But Walsh was overheard at a Howell Republican Club meeting last week saying he was going to run and he was seen working the crowd at Sheriff’s Shaun Golden’s Winter Breakout fundraiser on Friday.
One Republican insider who requested not to be named said Walsh is running. ”He’s all in and its going to be a shit show,” the committee member said, ” he’s calling the municipal chairmen.”
Manalapan GOP Chairman Steve McEnery said he hasn’t heard from Walsh. “He hasn’t called me,” McEnery said, “so I really don’t know what he’s going to do, but I don’t think we need a convention fight for freeholder nominations.”
Another chairperson said Walsh is probably gauging his level of support before committing. “A lot of people rallied around Lillian and Gary as a result of your article in December,” the chair said, “they both (Burry and Rich) have issues, but nothing that disqualifies them. Why should we have a fight just because Bob Walsh wants to be a freeholder?”
Burry, who said Walsh “should wait his turn” in December, laughed when told that he in now equivocating. ”One day he’s running, the next day he’s not. You’ll have to ask him,” Burry said, “I’m running. I already have more than enough signatures on my petitions and I’m still collecting.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: Bob Walsh, Gary Rich, Lillian Burry, Monmouth GOP, Monmouth GOP Freeholder Nomination | 30 Comments »
We’re hearing plenty about Bridgegate and Governor Christie’s response to it from cable news pundits and late night comedians. MMM thought it would be interesting to hear what our Monmouth County leaders, from both parties, have to say about the controversy and Christie’s response to it at his press conference last Thursday.
Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long, said “No, and I’m angry that some are tossing by name around as if I’m waffling about my endorsement,” when we asked her if she regretted endorsing Christie in light of the Bridgegate scandal. “Bridgegate is terrible, but it does not undue the Sandy recovery. My endorsement was based on the Sandy recovery. Let’s wait and see what happens when all the facts come out. Right now it’s a feeding frenzy.”
Senator Jennifer Beck said, “The governor has always straight forward me with, and he was forthcoming in his press conference on Thursday. I believe him.”
Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett said, “Governor Christie was open and sincere in his press conference. He said that he will now talk to everyone on his staff himself to get to the bottom of what happened. This issue may have gotten away from him because he departed from his usual practice of doing it all himself.
“Unfettered and overzealous politicos on Christie’s staff went way over the mark. The lane closures were a bad, bad idea that never should have happened.”
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal hasn’t returned our calls since we debunked his malicious and inaccurate attempted character assassination of a Red Bank Republican Council Candidate last October, so we asked his predecessor, Victor Scudiery, and the man who opposed him in the chairman’s race in 2011, Frank LaRocca to comment.
Former Monmouth Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery said, “I take Chris Christie’s word for it. We’ll have to play it out and see what happens. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, it’s frightening, but we have to wait and see.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 13th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP, Port Authority | Tags: Adam Schneider, Bridgegate, Chris Christie, Declan O'Scanlon, Dina Long, Frank LaRocca, Jennifer Beck, John Bennett, Lillian Burry, Matt Doherty, Port Authority of NY/NJ, Sean Kean, Victor Scudiery, Vin Gopal | 5 Comments »
It seems that Monmouth GOP Chairman John Bennett will not be both the Borough Administrator and Borough Attorney in Oceanport after all.
The borough is advertising the borough administrator position on its website and on the League of Municipalities site. Applications were due last week, but the ads are still running.
Click to read ad
The Borough Attorney, Bennett became the Acting Administrator in early November after the previous Acting Administrator, Phil Huhn, stepped down. Kimberly Jungfer resigned as Borough Administrator and Clerk to take the same job in neighboring Little Silver in June.
Bennett pitched the idea of being both the Borough Attorney and Administrator to Mayor Michael J. Mahon and the Council as a cost saving measure.
“It would be a win-win for everybody,” Bennett said, noting that the borough would save money in legal fees if he held both posts. He said he is not seeking pension credits or health benefits in the proposed position.
But questions about the inherent conflicts put the kibosh on the arrangement, even on a temporary basis. Scott Arnette was hired as Acting Borough Attorney for the month of December and Bennett continues as Acting Administrator for the remainder of 2013.
Posted: December 23rd, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: John Bennett, Monmouth GOP, News, Oceanport | Tags: John Bennett, John O. Bennett III, Oceanport | No Comments »
Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination. Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race. Photo credit Rhoda Chodosh
Freeholder Lillian Burry: “They (her opponents) should say what they would do better. Their negative attacks make them look like asses. They are asses!”
The By-Laws instituted by Monmouth Republican Chairman John Bennett as the fulfillment of one of his major campaign promises in 2012 will likely result in one of his most ardent supporters, Freeholder Lillian Burry, being challenged at the 2014 Monmouth Republican Nominating Convention in March.
Howell Councilman Bob Walsh said he will seek a nomination for freeholder when the Republican County Committee convenes next spring. Incumbents Burry and Freeholder Gary Rich both said they will seek the nominations for new terms…Burry’s 4th, Rich’s 2nd…and that they are prepared to fight back Walsh’s challenge.
“Tell him to wait his turn,” Burry said of Walsh’s challenge. “I’m running and I support Gary Rich for another term.”
“I’ve heard the name mentioned as a candidate,” Rich said of Walsh, “but I haven’t heard from him. It is interesting that he would challenge an incumbent like Lillian Burry who has such an exemplary record serving the taxpayers of Monmouth County. Lillian and I both work very hard to improve the county.”
“Freeholders are not elected for life,” Walsh, a former Howell mayor elected as an Independent, said, “my record speaks for itself. Lillian and Gary are both vulnerable. The Democrats are looking to take them out are excited about running against them. I am more electable than either of them and I would be a better freeholder than either of them.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 4th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: 2014 Freeholder races, Andrew Lucas, Andrew Lucas farm, Bob Walsh, Gary Rich, Jim Giannell, John Bennett, Lillian Burry, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP, Serena DiMaso, Vin Gopal | 29 Comments »