Gary Rich and Bob Walsh will challenge Lillian Burry and Pat Impreveduto for Freeholder
Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Lt Governor Kim Guadagno’s only legitimate competitor for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the June 6 GOP primary, conceded the Monmouth County GOP line to Guadagno at the Party convention on March 18. But Ciattarelli is not conceding the County’s Republican primary votes to the “extraordinarily weak frontrunner.”
MoreMonmouthMusings has learned that the Ciattarelli campaign will file a full slate of Monmouth County legislative and county candidates with the Secretary of State and Monmouth County Clerk on Monday, the filing deadline.
“By making Monmouth County competitive, we win the nomination,” said Chris Russell, chief strategist for the Ciattarelli campaign. “We are prepared to run a competitive primary county-wide and in every legislative district that represents Monmouth. We have a team of seasoned and popular candidates that is motivated to outwork our opponents who thought they had it all wrapped up and could cruise till September.”
Freeholder Gary Rich and Howell Councilman Bob Walsh will bracket with Ciattarelli and compete with Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Holmdel Deputy Mayor Pat Impreveduto for the freeholder seats currently held by Burry and Rich.
“I’m bringing my case to the people,” Rich said in a statement to MMM. “In my six years of service on the Freeholder Board, as the liaison to the finance department, we’ve reduced spending significantly and have kept taxes flat. I am the conservative on the Board with a stellar record. I have been the top vote getter in each of my County-wide elections. I do not deserve to be pushed out of office because I don’t like cocktail parties.”
Walsh, a former mayor, has long coveted a position on the county governing body. He competed against Burry and Rich for a nomination in 2014, losing at a convention. “Gary and I are a stronger ticket that Lillian and Pat,” Walsh said. “We need to keep Republican control of Monmouth County. Lillian and Pat are not lighting the world on fire, and neither is Kim.”
In the 11th Legislative District, former Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande is coming out of her early retirement to challenge Senator Jennifer Beck for the GOP nomination. The winner will face off against former Monmouth County Democrat Chairman Vin Gopal.
“Jennifer didn’t even ask me to run for my old seat in the Assembly,” Casagrande said. “I have a more conservative record than Jennifer and I have already kicked Vin Gopal’s ass,” she said referring to her 2011 victory over Gopal for Assembly. “I love Kim and she will always be my friend, but Jack offers us a better chance of victory in November.”
Former Red Bank Republican Chairman Sean DiSomma and former 6th district Congressional candidate Ernesto Cullari, both known for their aggressive styles, will challenge Ocean Township Councilman Rob Acerra and Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan for the Assembly nominations in LD 11.
“There is no question that Ciattarelli is a stronger candidate than Guadagno,” DiSomma said.
Cullari, of Asbury Park and a columnist for the tri-CityNews said, “There is no difference between Acerra and Whelan and Democrats Houghtaling and Downey. All four of them will do what they are told by the Party bosses. No one has ever accused Sean or me of going along to get along.”
In the 12th legislative district, Ciattarelli, Rich and Walsh will bracket with Old Bridge GOP Chairman Art Haney, the winner of the Middlesex and Burlington County GOP lines against Senator Sam Thompson, and Haney’s running mates, Alex Robotin and Eleanor “Debbie” Walker, over Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton.
In the 13th, the Ciattarelli slate will include Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger for Senate and Holmdel Committeeman Eric Hinds and Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle for Assembly.
“With over 22,000 votes in my reelection bid last year, I established myself as the most popular Republican in the district,” Scharfenberger said. “I don’t know what they (Guadagno, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Party’s Senate nominee, and Chairman Shaun Golden) were thinking when they supported Amy Handlin over me for Assembly.”
In the 30th district, Wall Township Committeewoman Ann Marie Conte turned down the Senate slot in order to attempt to unseat Assemblyman Dave Rible. The GOP Chairman of Wall, Rible recently denied Conte the opportunity to run for reelection to the Township Committee with the Party’s backing.
“Dave Rible is about to feel the wrath of a woman scorned,” Conte said. “I’m still inclined for vote for Kim for Governor, but when Chris Russell (Ciattrelli’s chief strategist) offered me the opportunity to take out Rible, I couldn’t resist. Rible’s chauvinism and bullying will not go unpunished.”
Dr. Dan Cardellichio, a chiropractor from Howell who ran for mayor last year, will challenge Senator Ron Singer. Former Belmar Councilman Jim Bean will round out the LD 30 slate for the other Assembly seat.
“This will only cost me future work in Monmouth County if we don’t win,” Russell explained. “That work was gone anyway after I was caught leaking info to Max Piazarro. Now we have to win.”
Russell said that the slate will have the operational and financial support of Burlington County GOP Chairman Bill Layton. Layton is seeking to fill the power void created by Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore’s ongoing legal problems with the FBI and become the Republican answer to George Norcross, the South Jersey Democrat power broker who has strong influence in the legislature.
Ciattarelli refused to comment because he does not talk to bloggers who advise Declan O’Scanlon.
Guadagno and Golden declined to comment. Freeholder Tom Arnone said, “No way! Does Shaun know?”
Freeholder Director Lillan Burry said, “April Fools!”