MMM Predictions for Election 2012

By popular demand (from Matt Rooney and a Democratic operative who doesn’t want people to know he/she talks to me) your favorite blogger is shifting his focus away from the Sandy Aftermath and back to politics on this election eve.

Rooney said, “Let’s hear your projection, Gallagher.”  My response: “The power will be off at my house for the rest of the week.”

Here are my predictions:

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Posted: November 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, 2012 Predictions, 2012 Presidential Politics, 2012 U.S. Senate Race, Elections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

APP endorses Claire French for Clerk

Could they possibly endorse Curley and DiMaso for Freeholders too?

The Asbury Park Press has recognised the fine job Republican County Clerk M. Claire French has done over the last ten years and endorsed her for a third five year term.

The Neptune Nudniks got this one right.  They dismissed Democratic candidate Michael Steinhorn as someone who “has little to recommend him for the job,” despite the fact that he exposed the statistical anomaly of the Monmouth GOP winning the first general election ballot position in 30 of 33 years and that they like his proposal to that the clerk’s office provide mobile services to seniors and veterans.

Given their logic in endorsing French, it will be fascinating to see how they endorse at least one of the Democratic Freeholder candidates, as I expect they will.

The Democratic Freeholder campaign has been so anemic that I suspect many readers don’t even know who is running.  Despite the Monmouth Dems outraising the Monmouth GOP through September, there is little evidence that Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal and his team are trying to get their nominal slate elected.   Publicly Democratic leaders say the right things about supporting their candidates. Privately they seem resigned to a Republican blow out.

The Democratic candidates are William Shea and Kevin Lavan.  Shea, as Amy Mallet’s running mate, lost to Freeholders Lillian Burry and Gary Rich last year. He is challenging Freeholder Director John Curley for a full three year term.  Lavan, who lost his run for Assembly to Declan O’Scanlon and Amy Handlin in the 13th district last year, is running against Freeholder Serena DiMaso for the remaining one year of Rob Clifton’s term.  Clifton resigned upon being sworn into the State Assembly.

Shea and Lavan were not even on the same page when the Nudniks interviewed all four candidates in September.  Shea recklessly proposed a 20% across the board spending cut from the county budget without backing up how he would do it.   Lavan said “maybe” depending upon the results of an audit.

Yet, the Nudniks loath single party control of any governing body (except the federal government when it is in Democratic hands) and has a historical bias against “Club Monmouth” as they frequently call the Monmouth GOP.  They seem to forget that all of the Monmouth Republican county office holders and all of Monmouth GOP leadership has been replaced since Operation Bid Rig, except Claire French who they just endorsed.  The GOP holds all five seats on the Freeholder Board.

Will the APP editorial board affirm the nudnikness and endorse Shea or Lavan?  We’ll find out soon.  Either way, it won’t matter on election day.   It might matter to their own crediblity if the actually endorse the best people for the job and get over their own biases.

Posted: October 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park Press, Freeholder, John Curley, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP, Neptune Nudniks, Serena DiMaso | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Democratic Freeholder Candidates Running to the Right of Republicans

Bill Shea, the young retired State Trooper with a disability pension who is challenging Freeholder Director John Curley for a seat on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, called for a 20% across the board reduction in county government spending yesterday.  Shea’s running mate, former Hazlet Mayor Kevin Lavan, said Shea’s proposal “is not out of the realm of possibility” and would depend on the results of a county audit.

Shea and Lavan were speaking yesterday to the Asbury Park Press Editorial Board where they appeared along side Curley and Freeholder Serena DiMaso.  DiMaso and Lavan are competing to complete the unexpired term of Assemblyman Rob Clifton who resigned in January upon taking office in Trenton.  DiMaso was elected by the GOP County Committee to serve in the seat until the general election results are certified.

Curley and DiMaso said such cuts would be impossible to achieve, according to APP.  They said such cuts would annihilate small county departments and cripple to county’s efforts to reduce municipal spending with shared services.

 

Posted: September 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park Press, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Gopal launches county campaign with shot at Lillian Burry over Brookdale

Image credit: "Paula Priesse," clearglassproductions.com

While Republicans are settling in after their trip to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal launched the first salvo of the county race for two freeholder seats and county clerk with a column posted on Patch sites throughout Monmouth, before he heads of to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention.

Gopal blasts Freeholder Lillian Burry, her former campaign treasurer, John Cantalupo, and the mythical “Club Monmouth” for the Brookdale Community College scandal.

Gopal’s column did not mention the Republican candidates, Freeholders John Curley and Serena DiMaso and County Clerk M. Claire French, that he says that Monmouth County taxpayers should unite against.  Nor did he mention his Democratic challengers, Kevin Lavan and Bill Shea for freeholder and Michael Steinhorn for county clerk.

Oddly, the Monmouth Democrats website, which has been redesigned since Gopal became chairman, makes no mention of his county candidates. Their facebook page also makes no mention of the county Democratic team.  Both websites feature Gopal prominently.

Pretty funny coming from a guy who blasted Governor Christie’s keynote address at the GOP convention as “all about him” to NJ.com:

Vin Gopal, the Monmouth County Democratic Party chairman, took a dimmer view of Christie’s moment in the national spotlight.

“The governor sang a tune that is not at all what is really happening. He’s a Republican governor in a Democratic state, and he’s doing a horrible job,” said Gopal, of Long Branch, citing New Jersey’s high unemployment and property tax rates. “He beat an incumbent Democratic governor in 2009 who was incredibly unpopular – here in Monmouth County, Jon Corzine said two weeks before the election that he wanted to raise tolls for the third time. Whoever the Democratic gubernatorial nominee is in 2013, the 700,000 registered Democratic voter advantage in this state, and the 20,000 registered Democratic voter edge in this county, is going to haunt Gov. Christie.”

“Christie’s speech was all about him,” added Gopal. “I don’t know how his message could have connected well with a lot of people. We are working to build up our base of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public service workers here in Monmouth, as well as other Democratic constituency groups, that will turn out in 2013.”

Gopal says that Monmouth County taxpayers should unite against Club Monmouth, yet despite his overwhelming victory in the Democratic Chairman’s race, he does not seem to be uniting his party behind their own candidates.

 

 

Posted: September 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Monmouth Democrats 2ndQ ELEC report not filed. Missing?

Monmouth GOP Team reports $83,000 cash on to hand

The Monmouth Democratic Party’s second quarter campaign finance report, due July 15th, has not been posted on the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s website as of this afternoon.  Dem Chairman Vin Gopal told MMM that the report was filed with ELEC, along with the report designating him as the new chairman, on July 10th.  Gopal said he would contact ELEC resolve the problem.

At the end of the first quarter, the Monmouth Dems had $6,305.14 cash on hand and was $78,025 in debt.  Over $60K of the debt was owed to then County Chairman Victor Scudiery.  Gopal said that the second quarter report “was pretty much the same, less than $10,000 on hand.”

The Democratic county candidates, Kevin Lavan and Bill Shea for Freeholder and Michael Steinhorn for Clerk, have $64.14 between them as of their post-primary reports.  Lavan and Steinhorn each told ELEC that they were not raising or spending money for the primary race.  Shea raised over $20K, but spent all but $64.14 in the uncontested primary.

The Monmouth GOP appears to be in better shape.  The GOP committee reported $34,790.31 in cash as of June 30th.    In their post-primary reports, Freeholder Director John Curley reported $22,554.81 in cash; Freeholder Serena DiMaso reported $11,401.19 and County Clerk Claire French reported $14,673.21.

Monmouth County  Republican Chairman John O. Bennett III has instructed all county and state elected officials, with the exception of this year’s candidates, to suspend raising money as of August 1 so as to not compete with his fundraising activities for the coming county campaign.  Bennett promised Curley, DiMaso and French that he would raise the funds necessary for the fall campaign.

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Campaign Contributions, Campaign Finance, ELEC, Elections, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Scudiery: Democratic County Candidates Should Resign

Former Monmouth Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery

Former Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery told MMM that he thinks his party’s nominees for freeholder and county surrogate should resign their candidacies and let the new Chairman, Vin Gopal, and the Democratic County Committee select new candidates.

The freeholder candidates, former Hazlet Mayor Kevin Lavan and former State Trooper William Shea, along with surrogate nominee Michael Steinhorn, all supported Gopal’s opponent, Marlboro Council President Frank LaRocca, in last month’s Chairman’s race.  Gopal won the chairmanship with over 70% of the vote, over 80% excluding Marlboro.

“I don’t know why they did that (took a position in the Chairman’s race),” said Scudiery, “LaRocca must have promised them something.  I don’t see how the rank and file supports them now.”

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Posted: July 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Steinhorn: “I’m waiting for Gopal to step up”

Democratic Monmouth County Clerk candidate Michael Steinhorn told MMM that he has not heard from Vin Gopal, the new Democratic County Chairman, since Tuesday night’s convention.  “I’m waiting anxiously for my running mates and I to be summoned so that Mr. Gopal can show us how to win,” said the Rumson Democrat, “I hope he doesn’t wait until two months before election day and then say he really doesn’t have enough time.”

Steinhorn, along with Democratic Freeholder candidates Bill Shea and Kevin Lavan, openly supported Gopal’s opponent, Marlboro Council President Frank LaRocca for Democratic Chairman. “I wish my running mates had staid out of the race, but after they endorsed Frank I felt like I was between LaRocca and a hard place,” Steinhorn quipped,  “I didn’t want to split the ticket.  I felt to was important that the three of us stay united for fundraising and the campaign.”

When asked if he has spoken to the members of his county slate, Gopal declined to comment.

Posted: June 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Party Unity

Based upon the voting results of the two Monmouth County political conventions that occurred on Tuesday evening, it would appear that the Monmouth Democratic Organization is united and the Monmouth Republican Organization is divided.

Vin Gopal’s margin of victory in the Democratic Chairman’s race was 73%-27%.  John Bennett scored a 50.24%-49.75% victory in the Republican race.

Both parties had extraordinarily high turnouts with over 600 committee members voting.  For a county party that has had no electoral success in recent years, the record turnout for the Democrats was an impressive showing. 

But all is not rosy for the Democrats.  Among Gopal’s minority opponents are his 3 county level candidates, Michael Steinhorn running for County Clerk and Freeholder candidates Bill Shea and Kevin Lavan.  Gopal, Steinhorn, Shea and Lavan were all general election candidates last year.  Gopal was an Assembly candidate in the 11th district.  Steinhorn and Shea were county level candidates, and Lavan was an Assembly candidate in the 13th district.  The divide is reportedly over Gopal’s relative (they all lost) success.  He raised more money, got more press and came closer to winning than Steinhorn, Shea and Lavan did in 2011.

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Posted: June 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments »

Monmouth Democratic Nominating Convention Preview

The Monmouth County Democrats are holding their nominating convention on Thursday, March 22 at the Bayshore Senior Center, 6:30 PM.

Michael Steinhorn of Rumson is the only candidate who has filed to run for County Clerk.  He is expected to be nominated to run against Republican incumbent M.Claire French. Steinhorn was the nominee for County Surrogate last year.

Former State Trooper Bill Shea, a candidate last year, and former Hazlet Mayor Kevin Lavan, a candidate for Assembly last year from the 13th district , will be freeholder candidates. 

There are two freeholder seats up this year;  a full term that is being defended by incumbent Republican Freeholder Director John Curley and an unexpired term that will be defended by Freeholder Serena DiMaso.  DiMaso was elected by the Monmouth Republican Committee to fill the vacancy created by Rob Clifton’s election to the State Assembly.

The Democrats have yet to determine which seats Shea and Lavan will challenge.

Former Freeholder Amy Mallet has not ruled out re-seeking the office that she lost last November.  Asked repeatedly by MMM if she was going to make an run for freeholder either at the convention or in the primary, Mallet said, “no, not at this time,” and “I am not running as of now.”   Asked to give a definitive answer, she declined.

Two candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the nomination to take on Congressman Chris Smith in the 4th congressional district. Former Monmouth County Surrogate Patricia Bennett, now an elder law attorney in Red Bank and Spring Lake businessman Brian Froelich will compete for the Democratic endorsement on Thrusday night.  

Froelich has a website and says he’s filed with the FEC to be a candidate. He would not rule out a primary challenge should he lose to Bennett on Thursday, saying, “I intend to win at the convention and have not thought beyond that.”

Bennett could not be reach for comment.

Posted: March 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, Chris Smith, Congress, Democrats, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

What if we held an election and nobody cared? Part 2, 13th Legislative District

Prelude from Part 1:

In seven weeks New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to elect an entirely new state legislature.

Patrick Murray’s Monmouth University/Neptune Nudniks poll conducted in August indicates that New Jersey voters disapprove of their legislature by a 48%-35% margin.  Democrats disapprove by 45%-38%.  Independents, the majority, disapprove by a whopping 50%-28%.  Surprisingly, Republicans approve of the legislature by a 45%-41% margin.  Public workers disapprove by 55%-26%.

Based solely on those poll results, one might expect that we’d be in the middle of a spirited campaign with Democrats and public workers rallying to throw the Republicans out of office.  Obviously that is not the case.  Democrats control the legislature that their base and Independents disapprove of strongly.

Due to Dr. Alan Rosenthal’s decision that New Jersey voters are better off being continuously represented by legislators they don’t know, there are only a handful of competitive legislative races.  The Democrats will continue to control the legislature for the next two years.  Probably the next ten years.

13th Legislative District

This district keeps the Bayshore towns of Aberdeen, Hazlet, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Middletown, and Union Beach from the old 13th, adds Atlantic Higlands, Highlands, Monmouth Beach,  Rumson and Sea Bright from the old 11th and Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport, Marlboro from the old 12th.

The Republican incumbents are Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon. O’Scanlon previously represented the old 12th.

On paper this should be a competitive district.  Democrats actually have a voter registration edge.  According to Labels and Lists Inc there are 34,193 registered Democrats, 33,758 registered Republicans and 74,492 unaffiliated (Independent) voters in the district.

Despite the slight registration edge for Democrats, the district generally votes Republican.  John McCain won the district in 2008, Chris Christie beat Jon Corzine here by a wide margin, and Anna Little beat Frank Pallone here in 2010.

Of the 16 municipalities in the 13th, 9 of the are comfortably controlled by Republicans. 6 are competitive towns with a local governing body that shifts from R to D on occasion.   Aberdeen is the only reliably Democratic town on the municpal level.

With 31% of the registered voters in the district, Middletown dominates.  Even though their registration edge is less than 2000 voters, Republicans dominate Middletown.  Middletown voters love their hometown office holders, Joe Kyrillos and Amy Handlin who they have elected time after time over the last two decades plus; Kyrillos served two terms in the Assembly from 1988 through 1991 and has been a Senator since 1992.  Handlin was a Monmouth County Freeholder from 1990 through 2006 when she entered the Assembly.

Roughly 73% of the district is new for O’Scanlon.  Yet, that 27% from his old district, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport and Marlboro knows O’Scanlon well.  They elected him to two terms in the Assembly after he lost to Michael Panter by only 73 votes in 2005.

The Democrats are running two former Hazlet mayors and a former Middletown township committee member. 

Christopher Cullen is the former Hazlet Mayor challenging Kyrillos for Senate.  Cullen, who served one term on the Hazlet Township Committee, won the nomination for Senate as a write-in candidate in the primary after failing to submit his petitions after being tabbed at the nominating convention in the spring.  He is the director of facilities maintenance and custodial services at MAST High School.  He is a member of Operating Engineers Local 68 and was previously a member of the teamsters.

Hazlet’s Community Center is named for Cullen’s father, James J. Cullen, who served the community for many years as a Republican office holder.

Both Democratic Assembly candidates won their first municipal elections in the wake of Operation Bid Rig.  Lavan was elected to the Hazlet Township Committee in 2005 and served through 2010 when he lost his reelection bid.  Like Cullen, his union roots are deep.  He has been a member of the International Longshoreman’s Association for 46 years.  He is making his support of unions, and the Right to Work legislation that Handlin and O’Scanlon have sponsored, the center piece of his campaign.

Short, a former Republican and a West Point graduate was the first Democrat elected to the Middletown Township Committee in 2006 in the wake of Bid Rig. He was swept out of office with Jon Corzine in 2009 as Chris Christie and the GOP swept Middletownoverwhelmingly.  Short was ambivalent about seeking a second term, but ultimately ignored MMM’s advise that he take the plaque.

Based on the early inactivity of the campaign, I was wondering if the feisty Constitution Party slate of Steve Boracchia for Senate, Bill Lawton and Frank Cottone might actually garner more votes than the Democrats in this race.  However, a volunteer from the Democratic campaign reached out to me to optimistic declare that the Democrats will produce a shocking victory on election day.  The volunteer said that Cullen, Lavan and Short are going in 20 different directions knocking on doors and that they are marshalling their scare resources for a last minute sprint into office.

While the 13th districts candidates don’t have the state Democratic support that the 11th district candidates have enjoyed….a paid staff and high profile fund raisers hosted by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Senate President Stephen Sweeney…the volunteer said that the campaign is expecting an influx of union money and that Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan is coming to the district next week to raise money for the slate.

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »