Ocean County Republican chairman George Gilmore is expected to resign his post on Tuesday, setting up a contested special election to replace him.
Gilmore has told several Republican leaders of his intention to step down following his conviction on three federal tax charges, according to several sources familiar with the pending change in leadership who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Two Republicans have emerged as potential candidates: Frank B. Holman, III, the head of a politically active accounting firm and the son of a former Republican state chairman; and Frank Sadeghi, the head of a Toms River engineering firm and an active GOP fundraiser.
Sadeghi, who had been mulling a challenge to Rep. Any Kim (D-Marlton) next year, confirmed his plans to run for county chairman.
“Under the circumstances, I think I can be more effective and impactful in this position,” Sadeghi told the New Jersey Globe. “I have a lot of support in this county. I’ve been active for 30 years and I think I would do a good job.”
Republican vice chair Barbara Lanuto would replace Gilmore until a special election. The county GOP by-laws require a vote to fill a vacancy within 60 days.
Gilmore was convicted on two counts of failing to pay IRS payroll taxes withheld from the firm’s employees and one count of making a false statement on a bank loan application last week. He was acquitted on two counts that he filed false tax returns. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on income tax evasion charges.
After the jury delivered their verdict, Gilmore said through his attorney, Kevin Marino, that he would not resign as county chairman. Marino did not immediately respond to an 8:39 PM e-mail seeking comment.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is expected to seek a court order to remove Gilmore from his seat on the Ocean County Board of Elections, his office told the Globe on Friday.
It is unclear whether Grewal’s decision to compel Gilmore to forfeit his public offices would have also included the county chairman post. There are mixed interpretations as to whether party leaders are considered public officials.
Holman is the president of Holman Frenia Allison, which serves as the independent auditor to a multitude of Ocean County municipalities and government agencies. His father, Gen. Frank B. Holman, Jr., was the mayor of Jackson Township and the Ocean County administrator before Gov. Tom Kean picked him to head the Republican State Committee.
An owner of Morgan Engineering, Sadeghi has close ties to several key Republicans, including Joseph Coronato, the organization-backed candidate for mayor of Toms River.
Sadeghi praised Gilmore for his 23 years of service as county chairman, heading the state’s premier county Republican organization.
“He’s done a tremendous job,” Sadeghi said. “It’s unfortunate that we are losing an effective leader like George. He is going to be missed.”Ocean County Republican bylaws