In early April the four candidates running for two Republican nominations for Atlantic Highlands Borough Council declared in a facebook group that they would hold a “congenial and productive primary strengthening our Party for 2018 and beyond.” In early May the candidates said that they wanted the primary voters, “not individuals who want to wield control,” to choose the nominees.
The candidates, Penny Hofman-Morris, Richard Colangelo, Brian Boms, and Jim Murphy are all friends. Colangelo and Murphy work together. Boms coaches youth sports with Colangelo and does business him.
Former Mayor Fred Rast, a Republican, and Regina Keelen, Atlantic Highlands Democrat Chair, announce their support of Lou Fligor and Jake Hoffman for reelection
Atlantic Highlands-Democrat Candidates for Borough Council, Edward Cetron and Elliot Warren have withdrawn their names from the general election ballot and the local Democrat Party has endorsed incumbent Republican Councilmen Lou Fligor and Jake Hoffmann for reelection. Fligor and Hoffmann are running for as Independents after being denied the Republican endorsement by GOP Municipal Chair Jane Frotton.
Over the past seven years that I have been your Mayor, I have made sure that politics played a very small role in operating our town. The successes we have had during these years are 100% due to the fact that I, as Mayor, and most of our Council, have worked together to protect and enhance our town.
I have also never allowed political interference in my appointments and actions. As a matter of fact, approximately half of my appointments have been people who are not registered Republicans.
The County, as is their prerogative, have chosen to support the request of the Atlantic Highlands Chair of the Republican Party to place Jack Archibald as the “Party Line Candidate”. The vote of the local Republican Committee between Lou and Jack was a split vote of 4 to 4. We believe the people should have a choice so the Atlantic Highlands Republican party will have a primary on June 2, 2015.
Lou Fligor is his own man. He is the most dedicated public servant of the people of our town, a champion of our town’s people. He has led the battle to force the Gas Company’s clean-up operations. He spearheaded the committee to dissolve the Atlantic Highlands/Highlands Regional Sewer Authority, which has saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last year alone. Lou is the person we all see working for our town 365 days a year, not just during election time. He is a self-made man, who keeps his actions above political considerations. He is a true, loyal friend to all of our town’s people. Lou wants the job, not just the title as Mayor.
Atlantic Highlands Councilmen Jack Archibald, left, and Lou Fligor, right, face off for the Republican nomination for mayor in the June 2 primary
Partisan primaries in New Jersey are usually very low turnout elections. Mostly they are uncontested, so only die hard partisans, poll workers and their friends who bring them doughnuts bother to vote. In Atlantic Highlands last year, of the roughly 700 registered Republicans, only 101 voted in the primary. Only 68 or the roughly 800 Democrats voted in the 2014 primary.
In contested primaries on a local level, the candidate with the “Party line” on the ballot usually has a huge advantage over a challenger.
The “Party line” advantage is being challenged in Atlantic Highlands in this year’s Republican primary on June 2. Two long term Republican Councilmen are competing to be the Party’s nominee for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Fred Rast, first elected in 2007, is keeping his promise to term limit himself out of office. Councilman Jack Archibald and Councilman Lou Fligor both want to be mayor.
A simmering feud within the Atlantic Highlands GOP boiled over into the public eye yesterday afternoon during the Borough’s reorganization meeting as three of the five Republican elected officials split with two of their newly reelected colleagues to elect a Democrat up for reelection this year as Council President.
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno who was on hand to swear in veteran Councilmen Jack Archibald and Peter Doyle to their new terms was not pleased by the drama. “You’re killing me,” Guadagno said to Mayor Fred Rast, a Republican who supported the unorthodox move, according to a prominent county Republican who was present.
Republican Councilman Lou Fligor nominated Democrat Roy Dellosso to be Council President. Jacob “Jake” Hoffman, also a Republican, joined Fligor, Dellossa, and Democrat Robert Sutton in electing Dellosso to the largely ceremonial post. Archibald and Doyle voted no.
Sen. Joe Kyrillos and Mayor Fred Rast greeting voters in Atlantic Highlands. Photo by Art Gallagher. Click for larger view.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos said he won the U.S. Senate primary without the Bayshore Tea Party support, “by the largest margin in half a century,” and that he is confident that 13th legislative district Republicans will nominate him for another term in the June 4th primary election.
“We’re working hard,” Kyrillos said of himself and his running mates, “probably harder than we need to, but it is energizing and gratifying to meet with so many constituents.”
Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan and Police Chief Joseph Blewet announced to an Emergency Information Meeting this afternoon that the borough’s restrictive access to downtown Highlands will continue for the foreseeable future and that as of now commuters will not be allowed to enter the town on Monday for ferry service to Manhattan.
Highlands has been closed to non-residents all week since the evacuation for Hurricane Sandy. Police check points are in place at the two entrances to the community…at the base of the Captain Joseph Azzolina Bridge and at the corner of Waterwitch and Linden Avenues…no one without identification with a Highlands address or accompanied by a Highlands resident are allowed beyond the check points.
Blewet said there had been “a dozen or so” looting incidents reported and that the check points would continue until power is restored to the community. The Highlands Police Department is being supported by officers from the State Attorney General’s office, the State Police, and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
Seastreak LLC, the ferry service that operates out of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands, sent an email to the customers on November 2 announcing that Nolan “will lift the public access restrictions” and that service would resume on Monday November 5. The same message emailed was posted on the company’s website.
Jack Bevins, the Seastreak manager in charge at the Highlands Connors location told MMM that the company was indeed planning to resume limited service on Monday. He said the Highlands OEM Director David Parker had given him permission, subject to a conversation with Blewet. “This is the first I’ve heard there was a problem,” Bevins said when informed of Nolan’s and Blewet’s announcement. He immediately left his crew that was restoring access to the fleet to speak with Blewet.
In Atlantic Highlands, Mayor Fred Rast and Harbor Commission Chairwoman Jane Frotton laughed at the notion of Seastreak operating out of their harbor on Monday. The company’s announcement said they “hoped” to be able to resume service in Atlantic Highlands on Tuesday. Rast and Frotton said the barge would have to be replaced and parking at the Senior Housing cleared before commuters would be allowed into Atlantic Highlands. Tuesday appears to be a pipedream.
Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett & Middlesex County Republican Chairman Samuel Thompson
cordially invite you to join them for An Evening with Anna Little Featuring Nationally Recognized Political Commentator, Author, and True Patriot
~ Christine O’Donnell ~
Please Join Us at Lakeside Manor Tuesday, August 14th From 6:00 PM – 8:00PM 410 Route 36 Hazlet, New Jersey 07730
Patriot Ticket $250
Co-Host Sponsorship $2,500
Other Sponsorships Available – Please Call for Details
~ RSVP TODAY – Space is Limited ~
Please Mail Event Contribution Checks To: Friends of Anna Little P.O. Box 382, Highlands, NJ 07732
Please Include: Employer and Occupation in the memo line (Information Required by Federal/State Law – if self employed list ‘self’ and industry ie: Attorney)
~Thank You to Our Host Committee ~
Municipal Chair of Old Bridge, Anita Greenburg, Assemblyman Rob Clifton, President of Affiliated Republican Club Wayne Pomanowski & Mayor Fred Rast of Atlantic Highlands
In case you blocked it out, O’Donnell was the 2010 Tea Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware who scored an upset primary victory over former Governor Mike Castle before going on to lose badly to Christopher Coons, costing the GOP the opportunity to take what had been Joe Biden’s Senate seat. Castle was considered a sure victor in the general election had he been the nominee.
O’Donnell was a deeply flawed candidate.
The NJ media has compared Little to O’Donnell too often. Once would have been too often. Now the comparisons will inevitably start again. The only thing that could prevent The Star Ledger’s Tom Moran or Politickernj from making such a comparison is if Little fails to get enough traction against Frank Pallone to warrant any ink.
Governor Chris Christie campaigned for Castle in 2010.
He also appeared at least two fund raisers for Little in 2010. Those weren’t catering hall fund raisers. They were held at elegant waterfront private homes. This news makes one wonder about Bennett’s and Thompson’s clout with the Governor. This one makes one wonder if Christie will be stumping for Little in October.
Anna Little, the former Mayor of Highlands, former Freeholder and the 2010 GOP nominee in the 6th Congressional district is one step closer to challenging Monmouth County State Senator Joe Kyrillos for the GOP 2012 U.S. Senate nomination.
Little told Politickernj that she would be filing with the FEC today to open a campaign account for her U.S. Senate bid.
Atlantic Highlands Municipal Chairwoman Jane Frotten has resigned as Little’s campaign treasurer. Atlantic Highlands Mayor Fred Rast has resigned as president of Anna’s Army Foundation, “a non-profit educational foundation created in the image of Anna Little and her campaign for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of NJ.”
Until recently, the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Robert Menendez was seen as battle between Kyrillos and fellow State Senator Michael Doherty. Kyrillos has a Senate Exploritory Committee. Doherty has been traveling the state touting his Fair School Funding plan. MMM has learned from very reliable sources that Doherty is leaning against entering the Senate primary. If Doherty does stay out of the race, a head to head match up between Kyrillos and Little could be in the making.
Little should take a reality check and reconsider before her dreams of a political future are irreparably shattered.
Little made a name for herself with the stunning upset victory over Diane Gooch in the primary for the 6th congressional district nomination in 2010. Little’s margin of victory was 84 votes out of roughly 14,000 cast.
What Little has failed to realize, and she stops talking to anyone who tells her the truth, is that she didn’t win that primary so much as Gooch lost it.
Not that her victory was an accident. The strategy of the Little primary campaign was to sneak up from behind. I know because I, then still a close confidant of Little, helped design the strategy. None of the “experts” took Little’s challenge of the county party lines and the uber funded Gooch seriously going into the primary. That was the key to victory. Build a ground game to bring out new voters and count on the fact that the “experts” don’t see the Tea Party wave coming. Even the Tea Parties were shocked by the depth of the 2010 tsunami. David Corsi’s inexplicable primary victory over Scott Sipprelle in the Monmouth County portion of the 12th congressional district proves that the party establishment was caught with their pants around their ankles.
They won’t be caught off guard again.
The Gooch campaign’s primary strategy was to ignore Little and run against incumbent Congressman Frank Pallone. It was a good strategy for a conventional time. Conventional times ended in 2010 before the establishment realized it.
It wasn’t until the final weekend of the 2010 primary campaign when Little managed to get onto TV, that the Gooch campaign realized that they might have a problem. They tried legal maneuvers, that failed, to get Little’s ads pulled. It was too late to respond. Little had successfully used the “surprise them” and “get the last word” strategies that we had successfully used in Highlands campaigns many times.
The problem with a “don’t let them see you coming” playbook is that it only works once.
A key political operative with close ties to both Gooch and Kyrillos has been keeping a close eye on Little since she declared her rematch with Pallone on election night 2010.
“She won’t get a free ride next time,” said the operative on the condition of anonymity, “we had a thick opposition research file on her in 2010 but didn’t use it because we weren’t taking her seriously and didn’t want to hurt her needlessly. The file has gotten a lot thicker in the last year.”
With their discharge from Anna’s Army, Frotten and Rast join the growing brigade of Monmouth County politicos who will no longer go to battle for Little.
Roughly a year ago, this blog compared Little to Jon Corzine over a policy position she took in one of her final acts as the mayor of Highlands. Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that Little also shares a personality trait with the former governor. She surrounds herself with people who tell her what she wants to hear and burns bridges with those who tell her what she needs to hear.
Little had a bright political future ahead of her on election night in 2010. Then she started talking.
She declared her rematch with Pallone, announced the formation of Anna’s Army and challenged Gooch, who had funded independent anti-Pallone ads, to a rematch. She failed to thank her supporters, Tea Party and establishment, who were caught off guard by her lack of humility.
She’s on the verge of crossing a line from which there will be no return. She should reconsider and start mending fences. Many of her old friends are forgiving.