Former Senate President John Bennett is the Chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Organization.
Besting State Committeewoman Christine Hanlon by only 3 votes of the 615 cast an elated and magnanimous Bennett congratulated Hanlon on a hard fought race and announced that she was welcome to fill whatever role she liked on his team.
Bennett profusely thanked the Western Monmouth committee members and invited Manalapan Municipal Chairman Steve McEnry to nominate Mayor Susan Cohen as Vice Chair. Cohen was elected by acclamation.
In what was described as a record turn out, over 700 Republicans, including guests, crowded into the Colts Neck High School auditorium.
Freeholder Lillian Burry placed Bennett’s name into nomination and launched into the theme of the evening’s speeches by attacking the Hanlon campaign for negative campaigning. A more conciliatory Senator Jennifer Beck nominated Hanlon with an acknowledgment of negative campaigning on both sides and an impassioned called to build on the successes of the last four years by voting for Christine.
A handful of members of the Bayshore Tea Party Group attempted to nominate one of their own for Chair. Outgoing Chairman Joe Oxley shut them down as they continued to shout from their seats.
Bennett, who gave his speech without a microphone, continued the theme of attacking the negative campaigning and attacked Hanlon for refusing to give up county legal work. During her speech, Hanlon called the negatives and two way street and was booed by Bennett supporters when she called the conflict of interest charge unfair.
If there was an undecided vote in the auditorium prior to the speeches, Bennett probably won them over with a better delivery than Hanlon’s.