Winners and Losers From the Freeholder Election


Serena DiMaso. In her third try for the office, Monmouth County’s new freeholder was victorious by a wider than expected margin.  During this campaign, Serena revealed a dignified strength and tenacity that had been missing from her earlier bids.

Joe Oxley. The chairman who had done away with conventions due to the chaos and deep divisions that often resulted, lead the county party in an orderly and adult gathering that left the party stronger.

Peter Doyle.  The previously little known West Point graduate, a councilman from a small town (only 8 committee votes in Atlantic Highlands) introduced himself to the county as a strong leader with a bright political future.  He exceeded expectations with his third place finish and is considered a front runner for future county or state vacancies.

Bob Walsh.  The Howell Mayor ran a positive, passionate and clean campaign.  His concession to DiMaso during the first few moments of the second ballot vote was the right thing to do for party unity. 

“I treat people the way I’d like to be treated,” Walsh said in an post election interview,  “Serena won, it’s a simple as that.  She worked hard and ran a clean campaign.  She’s a wonderful woman who has my complete support as a freeholder and in the coming election in November.”

Tom Fitzsimmons.  The Matawan councilman and political consultant managed a positive campaign for DiMaso. He proved to be the best vote counter and bs detector in the field.

The Monmouth County Republican Party.  The days of a raucous divisions are certifiably behind us.  The party produced four very qualified candidates, elected the best, and left the convention unified.  Worries of having a quorum present proved to be unjustified as 487 committee members showed up to preform their statutory duty.

Monmouth County Residents have an outstanding Board of Freeholders.

Holmdel Patch provided accurate and timely coverage of the election which is syndicated throughout Patch’s other Monmouth County sites.


Ryan Green.  The Manalapan Committeeman didn’t realize that, like Doyle, he was never going to overcome the countywide support that DiMaso and Walsh had built in previous runs for the office.  Doyle got it in the last week of the campaign and kept building relationships for the future.  Green threw an ill advised Hail Mary pass with his 11th hour press release bashing DiMaso.  DiMaso intercepted the errant pass and ran it back for a touchdown, leaving Green and Manalapan Chairman Steve McEnry, the advisor, damaged.  Rather than leaving this campaign with a base to build on going forward, Green finds himself stuck in a hole that McEnry let him dig.  Green was slated to be Mayor of Manalapan prior to entering the freeholder race. Now he’s an ambitious committeeman who has been publicly chastised by a newly elected freeholder for breaking the “11th commandment.”

Steve McEnry.  See Ryan Green above. Manalapan has 52 county committee members.  Green only received 39 votes total.  An embarrassing failure for the Manalapan Chairman.

Jim Giannell. The Kingmaker’s winning streak has been broken.  After his candidate, Walsh, conceded, Giannell graciously passed the mantle to Fitzsimmons.

Monmouth County Democrats.  DiMaso was not the candidate they were rooting for.  Regardless of who their new chairman is, Vin Gopal or Frank “LaHornica” LaRocca, they will be hard pressed to field a competitive slate this year.

The Asbury Park Press.  As of 5:25PM they still have not reported that Monmouth County has a new freeholder.  APP has made no mention of the special Title 19 election since Christmas Eve.

Posted: January 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

21 Comments on “Winners and Losers From the Freeholder Election”

  1. from howell said at 4:57 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    good for serena she will make a great Freeholder.

  2. observer said at 5:00 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    Good analysis

  3. Middletowner said at 6:00 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    With the way Oxley set up nominating committees in the past, it made Giannell’s job very easy to sway an election. Oxley set up a system that gave towns like Lake Como the same voting power as a Middletown, Freehold or Wall. Obviously, the Chairman had his reasons and it comes as no surprise how he picked up business for his firm from those small towns. However, when you have a weighted voting or an open convention, Giannell can’t pull it off. His “anything but Middletown” strategy failed miserably today and would fail every time. As a voting member today, I can tell you Middletown came out big for Serena.

  4. ArtGallagher said at 6:20 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    A couple of points Middltowner.

    1) Your analysis of Giannell’s past success make sense in theory, but history belies your theory. The last Title 19 convention the county had was in 2006. Giannell’s candidate, Anna Little, won on the second ballot.

    Gianell’s candidates, Lillian Burry in 2005 and John Curley in 2008 won at conventions under former Chairmen Fred Neimman and Adam Puharic, respectively.

    In Chairman Oxley’s first nominating committee meeting, 2009, Giannell’s candidate, Kim Spatolo of Atlantic Highlands lost to John Curley in a roll call vote.

    2) Just as your analysis of Giannell’s success has no basis in fact, your shot at Oxley is equally flawed. As the former chairman of Highlands, a small town, I can tell you that Oxley’s nominating process held no bearing on his appointment as borough attorney in 2008.

    As the chair in a small town, I, incorrectly in hindsight, advised Oxley against doing away with conventions. I was not concerned about my vote carrying the same weight as Peter Carton’s. I was more concerned that we nominate the best candidates and that the party thrive. Most of my fellow small town chairs thought along the same lines. In my experience, it is primarily the chairs of larger towns that are competitive for power with other chairs.

    Oxley is the township attorney in Wall, one of the larger towns you mention that were disadvantaged by Oxley’s process.

    Under Joe Oxley’s leadership and because of his controversial decisions, the Monmouth GOP has regained controll of the county government and come together in a manner that could not have been predicted when Oxley was first elected chairman in 2008.

    It is more likely that Oxley is picking up business for his firm because he and the other members of the firm do a good job at reasonable fees. Oxley, and his then partner Matt Giacobbe, lead the way in reducing the hourly fees of county and municipal attornies.

    You’ll have to find something else to advance your anti-Giannell and anti-Oxley agenda. Sorry Middltowner. I still love you.

  5. Middletowner said at 6:54 pm on January 14th, 2012:


    Some of your points also need revision:

    1. Giannell cannot take credit for Burry or Curley. I don’t believe anyone opposed them. If they did, they didn’t run any sort of viable campaign for it. And please, keep Anna Little out of this. If he takes credit for her, he deserves her.

    You should have given him credit for Arnone and Rich. I think those guys are great so I give credit for him backing those horses vs Wilkens (a Middletowner too) and Lucas.

    2. Oxley is attorney in Wall but let’s not forget where the County Clerk is from and his backing of Newberry. You seem to discount those facts.

    3. You don’t mention Farmingdale and a few other towns it’s size that I believe Oxley’s firm is doing work in. Is he also in Union Beach now? For the record, I have no problem with his firm getting work. My point is that it appears that lots of work came in small towns since he took office.

    4. My post should not be construed as Anti-Oxley. For the record, I like Joe and I commend him for doing a great job as Chairman. My point is that he made Giannell more powerful with his nominating and convention process. My second point is that I don’t think that hurt his standing in the small towns.

    Finally, I’ll always love you Art.

  6. ArtGallagher said at 7:16 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    Do we need to get a room? 😉

    Re Oxley first. I’m glad your post was not anti. I agree, the nominating process did not hurt him in small towns. My point is that it had no bearing at all.

    Joe’s status, that of his firm, the quality of their work and their reasonable fees, make him very attractive to small towns.

    Once again, lover, you are incorrect about Giannell with regard to Burry and Curley. Burry in 2005 and Curley in 2008 were both opposed by none other than Serena DiMaso. Burry was also opposed by a Howell councilwoman whose name escapes me. If I am not mistaken, Gary Rich threw his hat in the ring for a moment in 2005 and then quickly picked it up.

    If those candidates did not run viable campaign’s, that would be because in those “old days” the support of the County Chairman was enough to win. The Howell councilwoman was Neimman’s choice. DiMaso was Puharic’s choice. Giannell wrote the book on intra-party Monmouth campaigns.

  7. ArtGallagher said at 7:18 pm on January 14th, 2012:

    Oh and regarding giving Jim credit for Arnone and Rich, I gave him credit for it all here: http://www.moremonmouthmusings.net/2011/11/30/kingmaker-without-a-portfolio/

    He blames that piece, in part, for today’s loss. That was not my intention.

  8. observer said at 7:41 am on January 15th, 2012:

    I think the Howell Council woman that went up against Lillian Burry in 2005 was Pauline Shomaker.

  9. It was said at 10:36 am on January 15th, 2012:

    Cynthia Shoemaker, I believe, she was Neimann’s 1st choice.. we have not seen her in years.. think you are confused with Pauline Smith who, I believe, is still on Howell council..

  10. observer said at 10:48 am on January 15th, 2012:

    You are correct. I did not recall the first name

  11. TR said at 2:19 pm on January 15th, 2012:

    I think yor piece may have hurt Giannel and therfore Walsh. I would note by the way that the last three candidates Jim suported Arnone, Rich and Walsh sought out him and asked for his help he did not seek them out. One loss does not mean his considerable skills have dissapeared. Additionally Serena’s suprise tea party endorsement helped her.
    Finally I would point out that rumor has it some of the freeholders privatly supported Walsh but would not publicly do so. Their cowardice makes them loosers. This would especially apply to tough talking Curly who reportedly backed Walsh early on and then pulled a last minute dual endorsement when he saw serena picking up steam. He is slowly revealing himself to be the self serving , feckless charlatan I have long suspected him to be.

    All that being said Serena is a great person and will be a great Freeholder and I fully support her. It is a great sign for the party that we had so many good choices.

  12. ArtGallagher said at 2:30 pm on January 15th, 2012:

    TR said at 2:19 pm on January 15th, 2012:

    One loss does not mean his considerable skills have dissapeared.

    That is certainly true. I would go a step or two further, in part to further answer Middletowner’s shot;

    Jim has democratized the process in Monmouth County, to the benefit of all of us. It wasn’t pretty early on, as the new chairmen tried to thwart Jim’s efforts to preserve their power, yet Jim kept going and succeeding. He changed the way the game is played, very much for the better.

    To his credit, Chairman Oxley has not attempted to thwart Jim’s efforts, even when they did not agree on who the candidate should be.

  13. James Giannell said at 4:49 pm on January 15th, 2012:

    Wow, I am totally honored by the comments from Art (and for his accuracy of events over the years), TR, and calls I have received from other Chairpeople & County Committee members. I will say however, that any past success I’m often given credit for really belongs to the many good people that have been involved.
    By the way, and for the record, I totally agree with Art’s analysis but would like to emphasize one part of the “Winners” column and that’s the part about the MC Rep Party. I know that many members left the convention with a strong sense of pride over the manner in which the Candidates and overwhelming majority of County Committee members conducted themselves through out the campaign. The party itself was the biggest winner !

  14. Tim said at 5:21 pm on January 15th, 2012:

    Tried to tell you Walsh had no real shot. The Freeholders who secretly supported him is bogus. That is what they told him is all. Howell did him in. 62 county committee people and 28 showed and half went for someone else. What does that say? Enough said. So when speaking of winners and losers, Art, gotta say Howell is in loser column.

  15. Chris said at 6:27 pm on January 15th, 2012:

    The freeholders weren’t supposed to make official endorsement, since they’ll have to work with whoever wins, and it could be awkward if their pick lost. So they were right not to make anything public.

  16. Sue Veitengruber said at 1:33 am on January 16th, 2012:

    Good analysis, Art, and very nice words, Jim Giannell. However, Art, I disagree with placing Jim in the “losers” column. His passion for Monmouth County and the GOP provides enthusiasm and support for the political process which we can all learn from.

    And the Township of Howell and its GOP County Committee are not losers in this process. Those who could attended and voted their consciences. Even if all 62 voted for Walsh, he still would not have won.

  17. ArtGallagher said at 6:02 am on January 16th, 2012:


    Jim knows he is not a loser and that I don’t consider him such. The fact is that he lost in this race. As the strong conservative he is, he would not want to be put on the winners list. He would reject the PC “Little League” stance of “everyones a winner.”

    Putting Bob Walsh on the winners list was a much more difficult decision for me. I had him on the losers list in the first draft. He failed to meet expectations by a large margin.

    Bob could have waged a floor fight, like Anna Little and Giannell did in 2006 and possibly won. Not likely, but possibly.

    Chairman Oxley structured this convention in such a way to make a second ballot floor fight unlikely. From the room the balloting was held in, to urging voters to stay for the second round, to not allowing speaches from the floor other than nominations.

    Still, only Bob could have brought the convention to a close with the kind of unity that was present. He could have gone down fighting. Doing what he did is what put him on the winners list.

  18. Middletowner said at 7:33 am on January 16th, 2012:

    I think after this whole debate we can agree that the only fair process for nominating and electing Freeholders is what we saw on Saturday. It’s incumbent on the Chairman or the soon to be new Chairman (whoever that will be) to go back to participation of the County Committee.

  19. True Republican said at 11:38 am on January 16th, 2012:

    Hey Art, did you see the coverage of the convention by “The Press”??? PATHETIC doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was on the 4th page of the Local section and it was in a little corner. Really sad.

  20. ArtGallagher said at 11:44 am on January 16th, 2012:

    True Republican,

    I saw it online, http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012301140075

    I try not to waste $1.00 on the paper

  21. Tim said at 7:08 am on January 17th, 2012:

    Reading the posts from the same-olds from Howell makes you laugh. In the past 10 years, they have run several candidates for Freeholder. Each has lost. shoemaker lost to Burry. Tobasco lost to Barham, DiBella lost to Little and Lucas and ol Bobby lost to Serena. Get the drift here? Each had strengths and weaknesses. Some got screwed. Some screwed themselves. But what each had in common were the types like Sue (oink) and Baretta. Even perennial loser Morloser found his way into Republican politics. Do you get it? Its the rif-raf that com to the party with these people. Just ask Costigan. Oink will never learn and until these political slobs are out of the picture, no one from Howell will ever rise. Don`t get me wrong, Bobby was and is a flawed candidate who never has more than 135-140 votes. He`ll never run again for anything. He`s cooked. But the noise from his own town worried people from place like Middletown and Colts Neck who just don`t have an appetite for the traveling food fight that is Howell. So in the end, he never had the votes and it was his own baggage and the traveling baggage from his town that turned people off. We have the likes of Sue (oink) to thank for that. Good work Oink.