~ Declan O’Scanlon
With remarkable teamwork on the part of the candidates, county and municipal leaders and key members of the legislative delegation outside of the 13th legislative district, the Monmouth County Republican Organization earned the resounding endorsement of a Republican electorate that has proven over the years that performance and integrity matter far more to them than party loyalty.
Big egos checked, big leaders pulled together to support each other. A real team emerged.
Not challenged in their own districts, 11th District legislators, Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande, rallied their supporters to work for the county and LD 13 candidates. They worked the phones themselves, as if they were being challenged themselves.
Without even a Democratic challenger in his 30th Legislative District and while recovering from melanoma treatments, Assembly Republican Conference Leader Dave Rible could easily have sat this one out. But Dave “is a real leader” in the words of Freeholder Director Tom Arnone . Rible worked for the county team as if he was in his own race.
Atlantic Highlands Mayor Fred Rast is a strong conservative leader with considerable influence throughout the bayshore. He is not shy about breaking from the party line when he feels principle demands it. The difference that Rast’s out front and behind the scenes support of the LD 13 incumbents made in the landslide results is considerable.
‘Machine’ is not a bad word when describing the Middletown GOP. The leadership of Peter Carton, Gerry Scharfenberger and Tony Fiore and their substantial supporting team members stepped up and delivered 32% of the total LD 13 turnout. With 4 of the 6 Bayshore Tea Party backed challengers hailing from Middletown, the potential of an upset was real. The ‘machine’ saw to it that the challengers never got any traction.
Christine Hanlon has been such a class act and team player since her razor thin defeat for County Chair a year ago. Each one of the volunteers from throughout the county who worked with Hanlon on the phone banks deserves to be recognized.
Chairman John Bennett somehow managed to bring this group of ‘rock stars’ together to perform as a symphony orchestra.
O’Scanlon said it best, “An amazing moment.”
I’m sure I missed some who should be acknowledged. Feel free to mention them in the comments. You can even be anonymous and acknowledge yourself.
When faced with the primary challenge in early April, the incumbents and party leaders were annoyed by the effort and money they would have to “waste” on the primary. But it wasn’t a waste. The party is stronger and more united than I have ever seen it. More people are engaged in the process and contributing. The office holders are more engaged with their constituents.
An amazing moment. We should do it more often.