Middletown Township Committeeman Steve Massell today announced his endorsement of Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon to succeed Senator Joe Kyrillos as the senior legislator for northern Monmouth County’s 13th legislative district.
“As a lifelong resident of Monmouth County and having served these last 7 years on the Middletown Township Committee, I was not only saddened but concerned for the future of our county and state when I heard that Joe Kyrillos was retiring from the Senate,” Massell said.
“For almost 30 years we have had an extraordinary leader in Senator Kyrillos in his character, integrity and statesmanship. I have known him my entire life and I’m honored to call him a friend. But, when I heard Assemblyman O’Scanlon was going to bid for his seat I was quickly put at ease. I have gotten to know Declan over the past 7 years and am confident he will fight for his constituents at the state, county and local levels. Declan has a proven track record of being fiscally responsible and saving taxpayers millions.
“I can think of no better candidate to fill the senate seat of Joe Kyrillos than Declan O’Scanlon. As a fellow native of Monmouth County, I know Declan’s roots are deep and his passion to preserve our quality of life is unyielding.
“The Republican leadership we hold in Monmouth County is exceptional and it is critical that we keep it that way in the 13th district. This is why I am proud to endorse Declan O’Scanlon for State Senate.”
“I am deeply honored to have earned Steve Massell’s endorsement for Senate,” O’Scanlon said. “The Massell family’s tradition of honorable public service to the residents of Monmouth County, especially Middletown, is inspiring to those of us who are in politics for the right reasons. As a man of faith, family, business and public service, Steve is a shining example of his family legacy. I look forward to working with Steve for many years to come as we both fight to keep Monmouth County the extraordinary place that it is to raise a family.”
Massell’s endorsement, combined with that of his colleague, Tony Fiore, strikes a blow to O’Scanlon’s opponent, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, on her home turf. A former Middletown Township Committeewoman and Monmouth County Freeholder, Handlin went to the Assembly after unseating then incumbent Assemblyman Joe Azzolina in the June, 2005 primary.
Without earning 80% plus of Middletown’s County Committee members support, Handlin has little chance of besting O’Scanlon at the Monmouth GOP nominating convention on March 18. O’Scanlon has strong support in the Two Rivers area, the Bayshore and has made inroads into Handlin’s support in Marlboro. Middletown has over 90 of the roughly 220 County Committee votes in the district. With Fiore’s and Massell’s support, O’Scanlon is expected make a respectable showing, if not win, in Middletown.
Disclosure: Art Gallagher, publisher of MoreMonmouthMusings, is an adviser to Declan O’Scanlon