LD 13 Senate Race Has Gone to the Dogs

The race between Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Democrat Sean Byrnes, a former one term Middletown Township Committeeman, to succeed Senator Joe Kyillos, has gone to the dogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: November 3rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, 2017 Elections, Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Dems Protest Hot Mess Chicken Emoji, Remain Silent On Hateful Rhetoric Of Their Supporters

LGBT activist Sue Fulton, a former Monmouth County freeholder candidate outside Senator Jennifer Beck’s office. Middletown Committee candidate Tricia Maguire looks on.

Monmouth County Democrats, led by former freeholder candidate Sue Fulton, Middletown committeewoman candidate Tricia Maguire, Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich and Councilwoman Kathy Horgan took the the streets of Red Bank on Saturday to protest Ocean Township Deputy Mayor Rob Acerra’s alleged use of a hot mess chicken emoji on the campaign facebook page of LD 11 Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey.

Acerra is one of the Republicans running against Houghtaling and Downey, along with Red Bank Councilman Michael Whelan. The protest took place outside Senator Jennifer Beck’s legislative office on Monmouth Street.

Houghtaling and Downey, who would rather their reelection campaign be about facebook emojis than their records in the Assembly as special interest puppets, both shared photos of the protesters holding handmade signs and rubber chickens on their personal facebook pages.

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Posted: August 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 Elections, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Monmouth Dem Candidates Speak At Anti-Cop, Anti-Christian Hate Group Meeting

Photo of police officers altered to depict them as nazis. click for clearer view

The Democrat candidate for Senate in LD 13, one of his Assembly running mates, the Monmouth Dem Freeholders candidates, and a Democrat candidate for Middletown Township Committee were the honored guests of a group that depicts police officers as nazis and Mother Theresa as a sadistic religious fanatic.   The group, District 4 Coalition for Change, has also posted a nude photo of First Lady Melania Trump on its facebook page.

Sean Byrnes, the former Middletown Township Committeeman running for Senate in LD 13, Mariel DiDato, the 25 year old Hazlet resident running for Assembly in LD 13, Lake Como Mayor Brian Wilton and his freeholder running mate Dr. Margie Donlon, and Tricia Maguire, a candidate for Middletown Township Committee were all invited to speak at the event which was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lincroft.   The 80 people attending were asked to donate to the candidates’ campaigns.

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Posted: August 24th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County News, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Democrats in the 13th District: Vote for Joshua Leinsdorf for Senate in the Primary

By Art Gallagher

Over the Memorial Day weekend I noticed that Sean Byrnes, the establishment candidate for State Senate in the 13th District Democratic Primary, has put up lawn signs to get people to vote for him on Tuesday, June 6.   Byrnes is being challenged for the nomination to compete with Republican Declan O’Scanlon in November by Joshua Leinsdorf of Atlantic Highlands.   The winner of the LD 13 Senate election will replace Senator Joe Kyrillos in the Senate.

Given that Byrnes is taking the primary challenge from Leinsdorf seriously, I thought I should too.  I invited Mr. Leinsdorf to sit with me for an interview.  He surprised me. I thought Leinsdorf was an attention seeking gadfly perennial candidate.  I found him to be a sincere, smart and thoughtful man who has common sense ideas on how to solve New Jersey’s many fiscal problems.  Win or lose, he wants to influence public policy. He claims that even his losing campaigns have made a difference.

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Posted: June 2nd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, 2017 Elections, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dems will have a primary race for Senate in LD 13

Joshua Leinsdorf and Sean Byrnes will compete in the Democratic Primary for State Senate in LD 13

Joshua Leinsdorf of Atlantic Highlands has filed as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for State Senate from the 13th legislative district.

The former Princeton Board of Education member ran for Assembly as an Independent in 2015 and for Governor as a third party candidate in 2009. As a gubernatorial candidate, Leinsdorf called for cutting taxes, fixing the schools, making public transportation usable and the elimination of county government.

Leinsdorf is the first candidate in the 13th district to file petitions with the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections.  His petition contains 170 signatures. 100 are required. Petitions are due in Trenton on Monday April 3 at 4p.m.

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Posted: March 28th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, 2017 Elections, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Former Middletown Township Committeeman To Challenge O’Scanlon in LD 13

InsiderNJ is reporting that former Middletown Township Committeeman Sean Byrnes will run for State Senate in the 13th legislative district.

Byrnes was one of two Democrats to break the Middletown GOP’s hold on the Township Committee in the wake of Operation Bid Rig.  He was elected in 2007 and served one term before being defeated by Kevin Settembrino in 2010.   Byrnes ran for Monmouth County Freeholder in 2009.  He was defeated by John Curley after Vin Gopal paid for a beach plane banner that misspelled ‘freeholder.’

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Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, 2017 Elections | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Middletown Democrats will elect a new chairman

Joe Caliendo

Joe Caliendo is stepping down as chairman of the Middletown Democratic Party after 25 years.  He will continue to serve on the County Committee and as Sergeant-At-Arms of the county organization.

Caliendo was reelected as the Middletown Democratic leader on June 5.  He was an instrumental supporter of Vin Gopal’s landslide victory as Monmouth County Democratic Chairman.  His resignation is effective upon the election of a new Chair.

The Democrat’s Executive Committee will hold a special election on July 18th. 


Don Watson

Port Monmouth resident Don Watson, President of the Democratic Social Club and Sergeant-At-Arms of the local committee has announced his candidacy.  Watson will likely be the only candidate.

Former School Board Member Lenny Inzerillo, a past candidate for Assembly, Freeholder and State Senate, told MMM that he had been approached to run for Chairman but was not likely to run.  “Why rock the boat?” Inzerillo said.

Former Township Committee Member Sean Byrnes said Watson “is a hard worker and will probably do a good job.”

Posted: July 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , | 8 Comments »

Kingmaker without a portfolio

A strong argument could be made that the path to becoming a Monmouth County Freeholder goes through Red Bank realtor Jim Giannell’s office. 

Since 2005 when he backed Colts Neck Mayor Lillian Burry, Giannell has picked every non-incumbent Freeholder nominee except two.   One exception was Marlboro Councilman Jeff Cantor who replaced Freeholder Anna Little, a Giannell pick, on the ticket in 2007.  Cantor lost a close election to Democrat John D’Amico and then left the Republican party for Jon Hornick’s Democratic organization in Marlboro.  The other exception is John Curley.  Curley was Giannell’s pick over Serena DiMaso in 2008.  Curley narrowly lost to Amy Mallet in the Obama landslide.  In 2009 Giannell backed Kim Spatola, a former Atlantic Highlands councilwoman over Curley.  Curley prevailed at Joe Oxley’s first candidate selection screening and went on to defeat Sean Byrnes of Middletown in the 2009 Christie landslide in Monmouth. 

With the election of Gary Rich earlier this month, 3.5, counting Curley, of five Freeholders owe their offices to Jim Giannell.  If the former Red Bank municipal chairman’s pick in the current race to replace Assemblyman-elect Rob Clifton, Howell Mayor Bob Walsh, is elected on January 14, Giannell will have picked all five members of the board.

While the Freeholders may owe their careers to Giannell, there is little, if any, evidence that he is a boss, in the classic New Jersey sense of the word.  Once they take office, the Freeholders go their own way.  Burry is supporting Anne Marie Conte over Walsh in the current race.  Curley and Tom Arnone are staying out of the race for now. 

Here is a list of Giannell’s picks for non-incumbent Freeholders since 2005:

2005: Lillian Burry.  Burry ran with incumbent Bill Barham.  Barham was elected at a Republican convention earlier in 2005 to replace long time Freeholder Director Harry Larrison.  Even in the wake of the Operation Bid Rig scandal which tarnished the Republican brand, Barham and Burry defeated Democrats Barbara McMorrow and Rebecca Aaronson and Independent Brian Unger.  The Republican victory was in large measure do to the Asbury Park Press’s call for voters to bullet vote for Unger.  Back then the APP’s endorsement still had influence.  Unger garnered over 18,000 votes.  Burry’s margin of victory over McMorrow was only 1,792 votes. 

2006:  Anna Little and Andrew Lucas.  Little was elected, by one vote, over Howell Mayor Joe DiBella at a convention to replace Amy Handlin who had been elected to the Assembly.  Giannell managed Little’s campaign and her floor fight at the convention. A month later at a contentious multiple ballot nominating convention, Giannell and candidate Terrence Wall threw their support to Lucas in an anti-establishment move against DiBella and then Chairman Fred Neimann.   Little went on to win the rest of Handlin’s unexpired term in the general election.  Lucas lost to Barbara McMorrow. 

2007: Giannell did not have a candidate.  Little, his successful pick in 2006, spent a contentious year battling with Chairman Puharic and Freeholder Director Barham. Little declined to seek the nomination rather than submit to Puharic’s rules for screening and the convention.  Cantor was selected to join incumbent Rob Clifton on the ticket.  Clifton won.  Cantor lost to Democrat John D’Amico.

2008: John Curley was Giannell’s pick over Serena DiMaso who had the backing of Chairman Adam Puharic.  Burry was Curley’s running mate.  In a photo finish election dominated by Obamamania, Burry prevailed and Curley lost to Amy Mallet on the count of provisional ballots.  Democrats took control of the Freeholder Board for the first time in 20 years.

2009: Giannell backed Chairman Joe Oxley in supporting Atlantic Highlands former Councilwoman Kim Spatola over Curley.  McMorrow was up for reelection and was considered a lock to be reelected.  Nominating a woman, given the pro woman gender gap demonstrated by Burry and Mallet’s 2008 victories was considered the only hope of defeating McMorrow.    Just before the nominating meetings for both parties, McMorrow announced she would not seek another term.  Curley won a roll call vote at Oxley’s first screening selection.  The Democrats scrambled to find a candidate to replace McMorrow, settling on Byrnes from Middletown over Mike Beson of Neptune Township.  Curley defeated Byrnes and Republicans won back control of the Board.

2010:  Giannell’s pick, Tom Arnone, narrowly defeated former Middltown Committeeman Tom Wilkens and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich.  Arnone and incumbent Rob Clifton went on to defeat D’Amico and Spring Lake Councilwoman Janice Venables.

2011: Giannell backed Rich over Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, who had Burry’s support, Walsh, and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry.  Rich won the nomination with 25 votes in the screening committee. Lucas has 23 votes and Newberry 22.  Walsh withdrew before the polling.   Rich and incumbent Burry went on the defeat Mallet and newcomer William Shea earlier this month.

2012?  Monmouth County Republicans have not had a nominating convention of all county committee members since 2008.  It remains to be seen if Giannell can pull off another close race.   Don’t bet the house against Bob Walsh.

Posted: November 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Monmouth Democrats Will Choose Their Candidates Saturday

By Art Gallagher

The Monmouth County Democratic Organization will hold a “mini-convention” tomorrow at the Carpenters Union Hall in Red Bank for the purpose of nominating county and state legislative candidates for the June primary election.

One reader asked me today, “How come the Democrats are so good at keeping a lid on who their potential candidates are and everyone knows who the Republican players are?”

The answer is two fold: 1) The Democrats have been having a difficult time recruiting candidates.  They don’t have a deep bench of elected officials on the municipal level in Monmouth County. 2) Unlike the GOP that has incumbent legislators we knew were going to run regardless of how the new map was drawn, the Democrats have only had since Sunday to determine who lives in what district and if any of the districts are competitive.

Based upon numerous conversations with Monmouth Democrats who will never talk to me again if I name them, the contenders for the various nominations are as follows:

Surrogate:  Little Silver Councilman Daniel O’Hern, Jr is the most prominent name mentioned.  O’Hern is the son of the former State Supreme Court Justice.  He is the Red Bank Borough Attorney and former Middletown Township Committeeman Sean Byrnes law partner.

Freehold Township Attorney Ray Santiago’s name has been mentioned for Surrogate, as has Lake Como Councilman Brian Wilton. Wilton’s name has also been mentioned for Freeholder.

Freeholder:  Incumbent Freeholder Amy Mallet will be nominated.  William Shea of Howell, a 32 year old State Trooper who is retiring on June 1st has emerged as the front runner to be Mallet’s running mate.

11th Legislative District:  Many Democrats think this district, which includes Neptune Township, Asbury Park, Long Branch and Red Bank, is competitive.  This is where the action has been for Democrats this week as potential candidates lobby delegates for the chance to challenge Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande in the general election.

For Senate, former Assemblyman Michael Panter is in the running. Amy Quinn of Asbury Park, the County Vice-Chair and municipal chair is gathering support, as is Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson.

Red Bank Councilman Michael Dupont and Freehold Borough Councilman Jay Sims are also in the mix for Senate.

For Assembly, Kevin McMillan, Randy Bishop and Jason Jones, all of Neptune Township are in the mix, as is Red Bank Councilwoman Sharon Lee and Santiago of Freehold Township.  Vin Gopal of Long Branch is considering a bid.

12th Legislative District: As busy as the Democrats are the the 11th is as quiet as they are the the 12th.  As of this writing, the Monmouth Dems might let the Ocean and Middlesex Democrats nominate the candidates for this district.

13th Legislative District.  No one wants to run against Joe Kyrillos for Senate, but some Democrats are trying to coax former Judge, Senator, Freeholder and Parole Board Chairman John D’Amico of Oceanport to come out of retirement one more time.

For Assembly in the 13th, former Hazlet Mayor Kevin Lavan and Atlantic Highlands Councilman Roy Dellosso are the likely nominees to challenge GOP incumbents Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon.

The 30th Legislative District is the only slate that is settled for the Democrats.  Steve Morlino of Howell Township will be making yet another run against Senator Robert Singer. Rabbi Howard Kleinhendler, who ran against Chris Smith for Congress last year will run for Assembly.  Point Pleasant Borough Councilman Shaun O’Rourke will complete the Assembly ticket in the 30th.

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , | 7 Comments »

Photo Finish

By Art Gallagher

The race for the Monmouth GOP nomination for Freeholder is coming down to the wire.  The only safe bet at this point is that Howell Mayor Bob Walsh will not be the nominee.  A late entry into the race, Walsh has impressed on the stump, but this is not his year.  He has a future in county or state politics, if he wants it.  Elected in Howell as an Independent, Walsh needs to build support within the Republican party in order to secure a nomination on a higher than municipal level.

The race as it stands now is a nail biter between Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich.  Tonight’s speeches at the Monmouth County Affilitated Club’s candidates night ( Lakeside Manor, Rt 36, Hazlet, 6PM) will be delivered with the hope of closing the few undecided delegates and picking off delegates with “soft” commitments.  A gaffe or a home run tonight could determine the nomination.  Not that I want to create any pressure for the candidates.

Rich has emerged from the “oh him again” candidate to a tenacious contender.  He has earned the respect of many and the admiration of his competitors.  His presentation skills are strong.  Rank and file Republicans and Tea Party groups both like him.   If Rich wins the nomination it will be from the strength of his support from the municipal chairs, especially from the smaller coastal and bayshore towns.

Newberry is a solid guy.  Honest, hardworking, dependable.  A team player.  While not yet comfortable on the county stage, George, if nominated will be a strong candidate in the general election against Democratic incumbent Amy Mallet and Sean Byrnes, if Byrnes is the Democratic nominee.   If Byrnes runs for the legislature, Newberry is even stronger in the general.

Lucas is a proven winner in  rough and tumble Manalapan politics.  He is Lillian Burry’s first choice for a running mate. He has strong support in among chairs in the western part of the county.  Andrew has run for Freeholder before, losing to Barbara McMorrow in 2006 when she was a Democrat.  The is no shame in losing to McMorrow and losing a countywide race is no longer a disqualification for seeking another shot.  Mallet lost an Assembly bid before winning her Freeholder seat and John Curley was successful in his second try for Freeholder.

The Monmouth GOP is fortunate to have such a deep bench of qualified candidates.  Each of the four gentlemen pursuing the nomination this year could win the general election and serve with distinction.   The close race is an indication of the difficulty of the choice.

The selection committee meets Saturday morning.  MMM will have the result first.

Posted: March 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth GOP, Monmouth GOP Affiliated Club | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »