Bennett’s Rage: The Monmouth GOP Chair’s Race, Part 3

By Art Gallagher

Part 3 of this series was going to be about Christine Hanlon, but that will have to wait.

John Bennett called in a rage today over the two pieces about him.  He was screaming.  All the awful things people say about me are true.  At least he has the balls to say it directly to me.

He said he’s suing me and having me charged with extortion.  Extortion because Christine Hanlon and Ernesto Cullari advertised here.  He and Anna Little did not.  That’s why I was hard on Anna Little and that’s why I’m printing “lies and untruths” about him.

I’m not really a Republican because I talked to Bob Ingle.  I wish I had my wits about me to say he’s not really a Republican because he favors a woman’s right to kill babies, but I didn’t think of it until much later after someone pointed out to me how unprincipled Anna Little’s endorsement of Bennett was, given her pro-life commitment and Christine Hanlon’s pro-life commitment.  Not that a county chair has any power over Roe v Wade. 

Bennett did point out one inaccuracy.  I said he tacked together part time jobs to get a six figure pension, a practice that is no longer legal.  He said his pension is 5 figures.  With his life time health benefits from the taxpayer, it probably comes to 6 figures, but I corrected the comment.

Besides that, he said, “You better have proof” that George Gilmore made a deal with him to trade legal work.  I told him that I didn’t report that as a fact. “Someone else might be deciding that,” he threatened.

It was quite a call.  I got a new insight into what might have motivated Skip Hidlay, the Asbury Park Press Managing Editor at the time, to be so relentless in taking John down in 2003.  I’ve heard rumors this week about Bennett being vindictive and threatening people who were not supporting him for Chair.  I didn’t report any of that, till now, because I couldn’t get confirmation.  I got confirmation.

Bennett also complained that I haven’t written anything negative about Christine Hanlon.  That is part of the extortion, he said.  “You haven’t written anything about her at all!”    I told him I wasn’t done with the series yet. “When are you going to write it, Wednesday?!!”

Bennett also complained about a story that I didn’t write that Freeholder Director John Curley has been pushing on me and the Asbury Park Press.  It’s about an interaction that Curley had with Hanlon’s partner, Brian Nelson, at the Gala.  I told him that I was talking to Curley trying to get the story straight when he hung up angry.  I told Bennett that I called Curley back and haven’t heard from him since.  At this point, the APP can have that story. 

Bennet said that I should report that Hanlon is also tacking part time jobs for a pension.  I checked, she isn’t.   He said that Christine is working for the county and getting health benefits.  She’s not working for the county.  She’s on the Board of Elections, a State appointment.  She does get health benefits.

Bennett said that I should report that Hanlon is making more than he is from government jobs.  She isn’t.  Between her three jobs, Deputy Attorney in Tinton Falls, the Board of Elections, and Borough Prosecutor in Atlantic Highlands, she earns about $92K.  I should have charged her more for her ad.

Bennett said that his comment during our three hour meeting, “Don’t write bad things about me!” was an off the record joke.  I reminded him that our meeting was not off the record.  If it was a joke, what is he upset about?

“You better have a good attorney!” Bennet said.    I do.   He can’t wait.  I can’t either.

Posted: June 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Christine Hanlon, John Bennett, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , | 32 Comments »

32 Comments on “Bennett’s Rage: The Monmouth GOP Chair’s Race, Part 3”

  1. Bennett Goin' Down said at 7:44 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Bennett, you’re not supposed to be a sore loser until you lose. Well, then again, you are a loser and you are sore, so I guess you can be a sore loser before you actually lose to Ms. Hanlon.

    Bennett donates to Democrats and is pro-abortion. And is a sore loser.

  2. Here we go again. said at 7:57 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Well now. I see it as 2 for 2. Anna off line, negative campaigning… anna wins…. Highlands off the line, Highlands wins… Lets make it 3 for 3… Bennet off the line, negative campaigning… BENNIT WINS!!!

    Do you guys really think this negative crap is going to work??? Lets hope the committee has more sense than that.

    Bennet has been a successful person throughout his LIFE. He lives works and plays in the political realm. That is where he makes is money. Please don’t tell me we are entering the 99% world.. It is OK to profit from working at something you love to do. He has never broken any laws and and done good work.

    He was exonerated with regard to the accusations about double billing… that is a fact. He is not a back stabber, he is a statesmen. He will bring unity.

    Hanlon has done her best to divide and conquer the party. Worker bee she is she FOLLOWS.. no word about the injustices done with highlands or little.

  3. What Injustices? said at 8:09 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    What are you talking about “Here We Go Again?” Has Bennett donated to the Democrats recently? Is he pro-abortion? Did Anna Little filed with the FEC yet?

    Facts are a pesky thing, aren’t they?

  4. Freespeaker1976 said at 8:30 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Would you like a little cheese with that whine John?

    If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen that is called your record, how the heck are you going to be able to stand the pressure of managing a number of campaigns.

    Anytime someone’s nasty record is exposed, they cry lawsuit. But then, this is nothing new with John Bennett,

    NOT the image I want to see as the leader of our party in Monmouth County.

  5. TR said at 9:36 pm on June 8th, 2012:


  6. TheDigger said at 9:47 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Was he on Bath Salts? Sounds like he was growling too.

    Well, what else would a lawyer say – lawsuits are their ticket to prosperity.

    600 attorneys at the bottom of the ocean – now that would be a good start to resolving problems in this country.

  7. OMG Art!!! said at 9:56 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Christine is on the county’s payroll, that means salary & full time benefits paid by the county. A job she says she won’t give up if she’s elected chair. Yes, her job is a governor’s appointment on the recommendation of the co. chair, vice chair, state committeman, (John Bennett) & state committeewoman (herself). Isn’t it amazing how quickly she forgot who helped her get her foot in the door. She pockets a total of $92K, with her legal work for Tinton Falls & Atlantic Highlands. Doesn’t intend to give them up either…Isn’t that three part time jobs in the pension system? That’s a pretty good paycheck for only being on the scene for 4 years. She has access to the GOP e-mail blast list because she has the key to headquarters, and the county committee lists before anyone else because she’s working in the office that certifies the results! You say it’s perception…Sounds to me like Bob Ingle has a story line for The Soprano State II, the sequel.

  8. Republican Unity said at 10:04 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Glad to see you are finally admitting that you are not reporting facts.

  9. Ya' gotta be kidding me... said at 10:26 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    Wow. That’s crazy. Is there a full moon tonight? Sunspots maybe?

    If he allows his emotions to get this out of control over critique & debate on a blog site, what in Hell is this guy gonna do when the Dems & the APP come at him with guns-a-blazing???

  10. Friday Night Entertainment said at 11:04 pm on June 8th, 2012:

    It just makes me laugh and chuckle. I can’t wait for Part 4, seriously.

  11. Charles M said at 10:41 am on June 9th, 2012:

    And he wants to be Chair…

  12. Joe Wedick said at 11:55 am on June 9th, 2012:

    Lesson #1
    How to maintain a fiefdom:
    When threatened by others, shout “Lawsuit!!!” (Hopefully they will cower and go away)
    Like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz – a pathic sight when he was found out

  13. Rabbi Shmuley Fan said at 1:05 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    I find so much of the “discourse” by all on this site very disappointing. I am hoping that it is a very small percentage of our active GOP members. Step back, reflect, and perhaps take some advice from the Rabbi


  14. Knight in Shinning Armor said at 1:35 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    This is what I was afraid of with Bennett in the race. Baggage…..& the return of the “old boy’s club”.

  15. James Giannell said at 2:29 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    Hi Art,
    Wow ! Things are getting wild out there !
    Anyway, talk about “Deals”, many of us have heard the rumor that a certain Chairperson of a fairly large town has been promised the job of “Commissioner of Registration”; an $80,000/yr job to support Christine, should she win. I know you can figure out who.
    There is no question that a Republican County Chairperson should not have any business with County Government that is controlled by Republicans yet Chistine fails to address this critical issue. Could you do a short piece on this before Tues ?
    I could go on with many things I’ve heard but have to get to work. Lunch is either on you or me at the end of the week, we shall see Tuesday eve and then I’ll let you know why you have been wrong & vice versa !

  16. Freespeaker1976 said at 3:42 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    Mommy, Mommy, They’re Making Public Attacks Against Me. Such a silly, desperate piece of mail I received from you today.

    NO John, we are VETTING your record. ‘

    Politically Charged John?

    OF COURSE it’s politics John. You’ve engaged in politics as well. I can’t stand someone who can’t take the heat of a campaign. You’ll fold like a cheap suit when the Democrats come.

    Humbled by and thanks for your support? How presumptuous of you and how naive that you think you have it.

    Asking for support is one thing, but presuming you have it is arrogant.

    But the kicker? Donations to Democrats. You do not even deserve to run.

  17. ArtGallagher said at 4:15 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    @ Jim Giannell

    We both know how rumors work.

    I promised you that I would find out the truth. From what I hear, the Commissioner of Registration appointment is indeed coming up. I hear that several inquiries have been made about it and that no deals or promises have been made by Christine.

    Who, if anyone, has John promised the job to? I’m sure you know.

    Regarding the chair doing work for the county, that only became a conflict of interest because John decided to say it is a conflict of interest and his supporters, like yourself and Gerri, are running with it. We all know its a red herring. County work is no more of a conflict for the chair than municipal work is. The county chair has as much power on the municipal level as he/she does on the county level.

    In a perfect world, someone who doesn’t need to earn a living would be county chair and do the job passionately. We don’t live in a perfect world. The demands of the chairmanship would put most people out of business or out of a their jobs, or they would not be a successful chair. Vic Scudiery is such an example. Politics is not his business. He always took care of his family and his business and did the best he could as chair of the Dems with the deck stack against him. More than once, political pros tried to take him out. The Dems would have been more competive in Monmouth if a politico was their chair all these years. There is really no question about that.

    If John becomes chair, his income will not take a hit. If Christine becomes chair, her income will not take a hit either.

    If a business person like you or me became chair, our incomes would take a hit.

    I don’t like it, and I know that you don’t like it. But that is the way it is.

    See you Tuesday night and again for lunch on Friday.

  18. RepublicanRed said at 5:57 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    So Bennett made donations to Democrats?

    Indefensible and Unspeakable

    Christine Hanlon for Chair and thats it!

  19. The Queen Maker said at 7:44 pm on June 9th, 2012:

    Wasn’t it the self proclaimed kingmaker and Bennett working the wires for Walsh in January? How did that turn out?

  20. Gerri C. Popkin said at 8:00 am on June 10th, 2012:

    It is with regret I write this to you, (and, always at the risk of more immature and silly reactions, of course), but, since you stated my name above, I just need to say this: in my personal opinion, ( which I, as is everyone else, am entitled to have), it’s plain unfortunate that a fun, informative, often interesting, and sometimes amusing vehicle, for a few local political “junkies,”of all ages and stripes, deteriorated into what it now is, these past few weeks..here is my major point, and a major crux of this issue: if you, or anyone else, does not honestly in your heart and mind believe, that a person appointed to a paid, statutory job, who counts, votes on, and certifies results of people who may, in a few days, potentially cast votes for THEM- people who, suddenly got a knock at their door, and/or a piece of negative, INaccurate trash in their mailbox, DAYS before everyone ELSE could receive the complete and certified list of winners, is NOT a “conflict of interest” at best, or a derelection of duty, or potential malfiesance in that office, at worst, then they must be blinded, dumb, and/or without scruples or conscience-period… the fact is, John Bennett ran a positive, decent,truthful campaign, simply comparing the actual qualifications and experience of two people, and offering up a platform for progress that many people feel has been sorely lacking in the organization, for years….NONE of his volunteers ever expected to be personally attacked and reviled, nor did they expect the level of inaccuracies, and desperate lengths, to which his opponents would go , or see perpetrated, during this process: it was pretty stunning,even for us seasoned,”old” people, whom some of course,want to eliminate,asap, we get that, kids….John’s folks got together over many days and nights, as long-time friends and GOP volunteers/ supporters, had a few meals and laughs together, hand-addressed, stuffed, stamped and personally mailed envelopes, personally called friends and neighbors, basically had some campaign- fun along the way, in support of “their guy”- the way politics always was accomplished, before all the automation and “technologies” took most of the “people” part out of the process….now, at the close of this particular inter-party race,many have, and do believe, that much of the other group’s behavior was/is a disservice to the people, an embarassment to the party, and, frankly, an abuse of some people’s titles and public trust, which just winds up being a shame, too..look, whatever the results wind up being on Tuesday, many feel we have been painfully weakened and cheapened as an organization,and that the outside world, going forward, will need to be reassured that the county, (and yes, this is supposed to be first about, our COUNTY, Republican party),is still worthy of their trust and votes, in the fall, and beyond..some are also saddened that a few elitists will seem to obviously and apparently stop at nothing witin thr relm of decency, in their overly-ambitious quest for rapid ascension to supremacy, power and”glory”, along with personally very lucrative, future business.. and, finally, personally, Art, the vile comment you made to me last year after an event, when I simply suggested to you that, maybe for your health, you ought to consider quitting smoking, was hurtful ,over the top, and unfortunate..so, I feel sad for you, and will now say ‘bye, Art…

  21. MLaffey said at 10:28 am on June 10th, 2012:

    I can attest, as a matter of fact, that Christine did not have certified results before everyone else. As the Chairman in Tinton Falls I have decided to support Christine and I asked her for the results in Tinton Falls after the election and she did not have them to get them to me until Thursday. Even then what was sent me came from the municipal clerk not the county.
    I would point out that anyone could have found out who was running unopposed prior to the election and sent out a mailer to those people or go knock on their doors before certified results were available.

  22. Chris said at 11:37 am on June 10th, 2012:

    Keeping the record straight… I received tons of mailers from both candidates, but the first NEGATIVE one was on June 6 (Noon on Wednesday, the day after the elections, about 16 hours after the polls closed) from John Bennett, a “comparison chart” which had Christine Hanlon mostly with ? and No’s, and of course him with Yes all over.

  23. Gravy Train said at 12:20 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    Spare us Gerri. You are just as much as an insider as Bennett. The holier than thou attitude can’t fly when you have a $107k per year job in the Hall of Records. While your contributions to the county have been well documented and appreciated, your attitude that you do this out of the goodness of your heart is about as disingenuous as Bennett’s.

  24. TR said at 12:35 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    99.9% of people in politics are involved in politics for mixed motives. For most people one of the motives is that they want to do good. however that is also mixed to varying degrees with the motives of attaining money, accrual of power and ego gratification. I am sure that is true about both our Chairman candidates. If given the opportunity very few people would turn down the ability to make some money off their political activity. I certainly never did. I have met one or two people who would and have but they are a very rare breed.
    So really lets stop the posturing. He who is without sin can cast the first stone

  25. ArtGallagher said at 12:58 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    Art, the vile comment you made to me last year after an event, when I simply suggested to you that, maybe for your health, you ought to consider quitting smoking, was hurtful ,over the top, and unfortunate..so, I feel sad for you, and will now say ‘bye, Art…

    Gerri, I don’t remember this exchange. I apologise for the vile comment. Thank you for finally getting that off your chest.

    You’ll always be welcome to post here, or not.

  26. Gerri for VC said at 3:19 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    If Bennett wins is Gerri gonna be Vice Chair?

  27. If one does not said at 3:49 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    know the difference between a comparison-piece, which simply truthfully points out and compares one’s record and credentials against another’s, versus deliberate, untrue, and nasty personal distortions and attacks, would suggest you spend more time working in the process, reading more different literature and handouts various people prepare and send out..big difference!!..for a group that continually warns against “going back” to some ancient “bad times”, this bunch sure has dredged it up every chance they got, and, when calling voters, get haughty and nasty if not immediately given the answer they wanted.. guess maybe they’ve spent too much time using those “automated,” instant-call “technology” methods of contact, and not enough time actually respectfully speaking to REAL people! ..

  28. a friend.. said at 4:08 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    have heard that Gerri is just volunteering in support of her friend of 30 years, John, but does not wish to be Vice Chair, and has already shared that with John..

  29. A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... said at 4:21 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    Oh, for God’s sake…

    Really can’t wait til’ this is over.

  30. if you're said at 4:24 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    one of the folks who think a “comparison piece” and an “attack piece” are the same, then you probably don’t understand that many former and present party workers both earned, and continue to earn, their employment, over a period of time, and that in many cvases, it took a long time to be where they are.. and, yes, really, some people actually do volunteer work, over and above “giving back” to the folks that employ them, not so much out of the “goodness of their hearts,” but honestly, because they enjoy working with others of a similar philosophical mindset, and enjoy winning, and beating Dems, which is a bonus, in itself!.. all who volunteer for a cause beyond their regular jobs and lives, especially those in our party, are to be applauded, not sarcastically or jealously derided!.. there used to be a slogan going around: “get in line, and put in the time”.. there really are only so many jobs, positions, seats, and offices, but many who aspire.. for those who work hard and persevere, good things sometime do come, and good for them!..some, these days, seem to feel a sense of immediate gratification and entitlement to these things, while others feel and show their gratitude, and continue to work and help, where they can..personally hope John can unite all factions, and promote a better and improved culture of respect and teamwork, moving forward!….

  31. A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... said at 4:48 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    It appears this may never be over. … …. …..

  32. Rick Ambrosia said at 5:29 pm on June 10th, 2012:

    To paraphrase…How much do I love this….let me count the ways….