Photo Finish

By Art Gallagher

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.

Posted: March 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth GOP, Monmouth GOP Affiliated Club | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “Photo Finish”

  1. James Hogan said at 3:07 pm on March 25th, 2011:

    Just to add some historical context to the mix, this is Art’s blog entry from 2 years ago: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=20985341&postID=7871798634664012138

    I like the idea of supporting a guy (that will be running with Lillian) who Lillian wants to run with, it just seems to make sense.

    I also really like John Curley and think he does a great job so his opinion means a lot to me.

    And for that matter, Joe Oxley seems to spend every day and night at one Republican event or another and if Joe is putting support into a guy, I have to think that Joe knows the candidates and the lay of the land better than me or most and his opinion is worth a lot to me as well since he probably knows who really has the best handle on the issues to win county wide.

    Having seen and listened to these guys a few times, all of them are worth my time and money to help for their own distinct reasons and I think any one of them can run a winning campaign and be an effective Freeholder.

    Regardless of who gets the line and/or who continues to run off of the line, I just hope this year’s primary isn’t a painful and destructive one because we have a great bench here in Monmouth County and we should be focused on building up that bench and building up the party structure so that we can remove Pallone and Menendez, and hopefully Obama too, next year.

  2. Anonymous said at 10:24 pm on March 25th, 2011:

    Art its already confirmed by most Democrats that Vin Gopal is seeking the nomination to run with Mallet – how are you the last to know? Scullery’s your advertiser, wouldn’t he have told you his tenant is running?

  3. CommonSense said at 11:40 pm on March 25th, 2011:

    @Anonymous- Rumor also floating around that Frank Pallone’s brother is considering a run for Freeholder with Amy.

    Now, about tonight. I was there and heard all 4 speak. Gary Rich, while I agree with Art’s analysis, he completely BOMBED today in his speech. If he does not get the nod, he can connect it to tonight’s speech.

    Bob Walsh I think hit everyone when he was talking about his family. But Art made a good point when he said he needs to build support in the GOP. There has been talk in Howell that he had spent over $70,000 to get elected as an Independent.

    George Newberry is probably the weakest candidate out of all 4 of them. The man knows nothing outside of Wall. Yes its a big town and yes its the best turn out for the GOP, but lets be honest, Amy Mallet is not winning Wall not matter who Lillian’s running mate is.

    Andrew Lucas was one of the better speakers. He has a little bit of all of Monmouth County to offer. A farmer, finance background, and more. He is more experienced in running tough campaigns. And like Art said, loosing to Barbara McMorrow is nothing to be ashamed of. She is an outstanding public servant and has tremendous respect on both sides of the aisle.

    I think the GOP will have a victory County wide like they did last year if Andrew is on the ticket.

    And just a side note Art, Andrew ran against Barbara in 2006, not 2007.

  4. ArtGallagher said at 4:41 am on March 26th, 2011:

    Thanks CommonSense. I made the correction.

  5. Barry said at 9:22 am on March 26th, 2011:

    What time does the meeting start this morning?