One of the most politically influential mayors in Monmouth County wants Gov. Phil Murphy to nominate Raymond Santiago as the new prosecutor.
“I know Ray Santiago very well,” said Jon Hornik, the mayor of Marlboro. “I think he’s an excellent attorney and I would like to see him as prosecutor.”
Santiago and acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey have emerged as the finalists for the post, which became vacant on June 1 when Christopher Gramiccioni stepped down.
A third potential candidate, Robert Honecker, Jr., has moved out of contention, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Santiago, a Democratic candidate for State Senate in 2011, worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s office and for the Southern District of New York before opening his own law firm in Freehold.
Republicans in Monmouth – and Gramiccioni — are pushing Lori Linskey, the current first assistant prosecutor. The Latino Coalition of New Jersey and a coalition of pastors and community leader representing communities of color have asked Murphy to go with Santiago.
Hornick said that Murphy has not mentioned the prosecutor post to him and that he doesn’t plan to bring it up.
“If he did ask, I would tell him Ray Santiago is the best,” he said.
Murphy won’t make the nomination until after the November election. The Senate has no sessions scheduled until then.
Linskey joined the prosecutor’s office in 2013 when Gramiccioni brought her on from her post as a senior counsel to the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. She had worked for the prosecutor’s wife when Deborah Gramiccioni was director of the division.
Two state senators have sign off authority over the prosecutor post: Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver). If Murphy nominates Linskey, State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood), who represents her hometown, would also have courtesy over the nomination.
Deborah Gramiccioni, the former prosecutor’s wife, resigned her post as a Superior Court judge May after just four years on the bench.
The Gramiccioni’s have since formed their own law firm with offices in New Jersey and in South Carolina, where they are both living. She is a former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie.
They appear to have hatched the idea of quitting their government posts to go into private practice more than a year before their resignations. A domain name for the firm, Kingston & Coventry, named after the streets they grew up on, was registered on April 27, 2020.
“They feel that it’s their time to cash in,” said a Gramiccioni friend. Both have spent their careers as government lawyers.