The 2014 Monmouth County election is in the books.
After the most intense campaign in memory funded by out of county Democrats, Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal has nothing but IOUs to show for his duplicitous efforts.
There are literally hundreds of winners in this campaign county wide. From candidates making their first bid for elected office, to the seasoned pros defending their records, to the selfless volunteers who knocked on doors and made over 50,000 phone calls to voters. We congratulate the entire Monmouth Republican team.
On every championship team there are stars who get the accolades on behalf of the entire team. Here are five special mentions from this hard fought victory:
The top Winners of the Battle for Monmouth:
Lillian G. Burry. Burry has been elected county-wide 4 times. Three of those four elections were hard fought. None had the benefit of up ballot coattails. In 2005 she prevailed despite the anti-Republican sentiment generated by Operation Bid Rig. In 2008, Burry prevailed as the top vote getter over the Obama wave that saw an unprecedented Democratic turnout. The low turnout race of 2011 was relatively easy. In the campaign that just concluded, Burry’s integrity was maliciously maligned by Gopal and his henchmen armed with hundreds of thousands of Democratic money wheeled into the county from Trenton, Essex, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties.
Burry stood tall and fought hard. She is a proven winner, in politics and life. A role model for women and men, Burry embraces the toughest challenges and prevails with honor.
Shaun Golden. Already a rising star after his huge reelection victory as Monmouth County Sheriff in 2013, Golden risked his career in taking on Chairman John Bennett last spring in-order to lead beyond the status quo .
Bennett boasted of his fundraising prowess in his campaign to retain the Chairmanship, but left Golden with an overdrawn check book on June 10.
Undaunted, Bennett’s turd was just another challenge for Golden to overcome.
Shaun has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the face of adversity by doing what he said he would do. He assembled a strong team by appointing an unprecedented four Regional Vice Chairs. He empowered municipal Party leaders and candidates, expanded the Party’s demographic diversity, established a strong social media presence and fed the rank and file when they came out to work. He raised money and got the job done without wasteful spending. When all the money is counted the Democrats will have outspent the Republicans 3 or 4 to 1.
If the hapless NJGOP is ever to gain traction in the State, it will take a leader like Shaun Golden to make it happen.
Gary Rich. As the top vote getter in his two Freeholder elections, Rich has to be called winner. Unfortunately, Rich suffers from a perception within the Party’s leadership that he has skated by on the backs of others.
In a OpEd published here and in the triCityNews last September, Rich said, The hardest thing about being in politics is the politics:
“The hardest thing about being in politics is the politics. Truthfully, it’s not something I have much of a tolerance for. I’m an ideas man. I see a problem and I want to fix it. I like logic and honesty, which may sound like an odd thing to have to say, but you’d be surprised how many people these days seem to lack both completely or just don’t have the time for them. What I don’t have time for is games—they serve no one and they have no place in serving the public.”
Rich doesn’t lack for logic or honesty. But there are other critical functions of politics he doesn’t seem to like that he will need to embrace if he is ever going to be considered a leader among leaders. Gary needs to step up his engagement and relationship building skills and his fund raising ability. Gary flew under the radar after being elected in 2011, only to engage in political activity after facing a challenge from Bob Walsh for his renomination. If he returns to his quiet and reserved ways, he is likely to be challenged again in 2017, should be seek a third term.
Susan Cohen and Jack McNaboe. At ground zero for the Andrew Lucas scandal, the Manalapan Township Committee members survived an onslaught of out of county Democratic money (Cohen estimates that the Democrats spent $70K against her and McNaboe) and their own tactical campaign stumbles to be reelected by a comfortable margin. As with Burry and Rich on the county level, Cohen and McNaboe proved that honesty and getting the job done for constituents trumps deceitful campaign rhetoric.
Check back later for the Losers.