Monmouth County GOP Chairman John Bennett sounded a rallying cry to about 125 Republican faithful on Saturday morning in Hazlet at a Armed Forces Day ‘friend raiser’ held at the Red Oak Diner for county candidates Sheriff Shaun Golden and Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso.
“We’ve had primaries before in Monmouth County that we did not take seriously,” Bennett said,”and bad things happened. This time we’re running as if we are 25 points behind.”
State Senator Joe Kyrillos asked the assembled Republicans to make sure their friends and families come out and vote on June 4 for himself and Assembly members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon, in addition to Golden, Arnone and DiMaso.
DiMaso introduced former CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch, former mayors Eddie Farve of Bay St. Louis, MS and Brett Warr of Gulfport, MS, as well as former Congressman Gene Taylor. The group was visiting New Jersey to support the Bayshore Conference of Mayors, touring the destruction of Superstorm Sandy in Mantoloking and the rebuilding of the Seaside Heights boardwalk.
Golden used the presence of the guests from Mississippi to talk about his department’s response to Sandy. “We had no deaths or serious injuries in Monmouth County. In Katrina, there were almost 2000 deaths,” he said.
Golden praised Arnone, DiMaso and the other freeholders for putting the health and safety of Monmouth County residents first during storm, telling how they gave him emergency authorization, via conference call, to spend $75,000 to bring police and first responders from Mississippi to assist local law enforcement in the aftermath of Sandy. “We got all of the money reimbursed by FEMA,” Golden said to laughter and applause.
Arnone took a shot at the Bayshore Tea Party backed slate of candidates that are challenging the incumbents in the GOP primary. “I’m not sure they are on our side (Republican side),” said Arnone is a reference to the fact that the challengers have asked the Monmouth County Democrats for money to fund their campaign.
“We could have used Sandy as an excuse to raise taxes, but collectively we choice not to do that the Monmouth County residents. We cut $6 million from the budget, and that is just this year. Since we Republicans won total control of the freeholder board there have been no tax increases. ZERO, ZERO. That is fiscal conservatives,” declared Arnone. “I don’t know what those so-called conservatives challenging us are up to, but if they win this primary, things could get very bad,” implying that Bayshore Tea Party Group candidates could repeat their pattern of winning primaries but losing general elections.
The Bayshore Tea Party backed candidates challenging the Monmouth Republican incumbents are Leigh-Ann Bellew for Senate in the 13th legisilative district, Enda Walsh and Steven Boracchia for Assembly in the 13th, Dan Peters for Sheriff and freeholder candidates Ed Pekarsky and Brian Largey.