Signatures appear to be falsified. Ciattarelli’s Political Director Certified Signature She Did Not Witness
The nominating petitions filed by the Monmouth County Freeholder candidates aligned with Jack Ciattarelli for Governor appear to have fraudulent signatures and to have been falsely certified, according to a challenge filed by Monmouth County Republican Chairman Shaun Golden and an ongoing investigation by MMM.
In a letter to Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon obtained by MMM, Golden said that a review of the petitions filed by Bernard Dowd and Susan Ellen Metz revealed “a number of irregularities.” Golden wrote that several signatures appear to be in the same handwriting for multiple people, several signers are not registered to vote and/or are registered Democrats. Democrat voters are not eligible to vote in Republican primaries nor endorse candidates for those primaries.
Dowd and Metz are running for GOP nominations for Monmouth County Freeholder on the same ballot line as Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli for Governor.
Additionally, Golden questioned whether the petition signatures were properly certified. Brittany Wheeler, the political director of the Jack Ciattarelli for Governor campaign, signed an affidavit certifying that she collected the signatures for Metz.
Golden challenged the petitions and asked that the Clerk’s Office review each signature and compare them to voting records.
MMM spoke to one of the signers of the Metz petition who said she was asked by a male to sign for Ciattarelli for Governor, Gary Rich for Freeholder and another candidate she could not remember. The signer was certain that the solicitor was male.
Rich, an incumbent freeholder who is not seeking reelection, told MMM that he did not authorize the Ciattarelli campaign to collect signatures on his behalf. “Absolutely not,” the freeholder said. Rich said he is supporting Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno over Ciattarelli for the GOP nomination for governor.
“I don’t know, we processed a lot of petitions last weekend,” Wheeler told MMM on the phone when we asked her if she collected all of the signatures she certified on behalf of the Monmouth County Freeholder candidates. Wheeler then said she was not authorized to speak to the media and referred MMM to Ciattarelli’s campaign manager, Rich Rosenberg or Chris Russell, Ciattarelli’s campaign consultant.
Rosenberg said, “I have nothing to say, sorry Art” when reached on the phone. Russell has not returned our call.
Dowd, a veterinarian from Oceanport, certified that he collected the signatures on his own petition.. A review of that petition by MMM revealed questionable signatures that appear to be in the same handwriting for multiple people. Dowd has not returned our call.
In addition to their separate petitions, Dowd and Metz also filed a joint petition. MMM is still reviewing the joint petition, including contacting signers.
Hanlon, the Clerk of Elections as part of her duties as County Clerk, told MMM that she and her staff are reviewing the petitions and will be in touch with the candidates accordingly.