Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel) has lost party support for re-election because of unethical behavior and missing key votes while on vacation, Monmouth County Republican Chairman Shaun Golden told party leaders.
“Time and time again, Serena has failed us,” Golden said. “When you fail to uphold our Republican values, like failing to show up to vote on important matters to our citizens, you have broken you oath to our Republican Party and violated the trust that our Monmouth County citizens have placed in you.”
Golden has endorsed Vicky Flynn, the Holmdel school board president, to replace DiMaso in the 13th district Assembly seat. The two will face off at the county GOP convention on Thursday.
“I know that sometimes it is difficult to have division among our strong Monmouth Republican family,” Golden said in a March 11 letter to Republican leaders obtained by the New Jersey Globe. “I do not take this action lightly.
Golden accused DiMaso of giving tax breaks to a hospital while where she served on the Board of Trustees and criticized her for triggering an ethics investigation after spoofing the telephone number of Democratic legislators in a robocall with a message recorded by the two-term assemblywoman.
“Issues have been raised with respect to unethical behavior that exposes our party and all of our candidates,” said Golden, noting that her actions “exposed the New Jersey Republican Assembly caucus and our treasurer to legal jeopardy.”
In several instances, Golden alleges, DiMaso missed Assembly votes and committee meetings while she was away on vacation.
“Serena has failed to appear in Trenton on multiple occasions to cast votes on very important issues that affect our families and businesses herein Monmouth County,” Golden told GOP leaders. “During this critical time, Serena was on vacation.”
According to Golden, DiMaso was on vacation when she announced her re-election bid and missed votes on funding for local food banks and “seven bills that would protect women from sexual assault.”
“Most egregiously, while the Republican party is fighting to hold the Murphy administration accountable for the deaths of our seniors in nursing homes, Serena sponsored legislation to shield those very nursing homes from any liability for COVID-19 related deaths.”
Golden, who is also the Monmouth County Sheriff, slammed DiMaso for voting in favor of legislation that would allow foreclosed properties to be turned into affordable housing.
Golden says that DiMaso, who serves as Holmdel Planning Board chair concurrently with her service in the legislature, voted to allow high-density housing on the borders of Middletown and Hazlet.
In his letter, Golden claimed that DiMaso used his photographer in a campaign mailer without his permission “In a devious effort to confuse county committee members as to whom I am supporting.”
DiMaso accused Golden of “engaging in a systematic pattern of intimidation” to deny her the organization line.”
“Several Republicans have alerted the DiMaso campaign that Golden is telling the various chairman that if they do not follow his direction, they will be cut off from campaign funds and that he will work to remove them from the chairmanships,” DiMaso’s campaign said. “Several County employees who are county committee have been threatened with the loss of their County jobs if they did not obey the dictates of Golden.”
The DiMaso campaign is also alleging that Golden is threatening potential donors with the loss of their county contracts.
DiMaso is also charging that Golden is attempting to harvest ballots for the upcoming convention, refusing her bid to allow county committee to vote in secret.
Golden is pressuring County Committee Chairmen to email their respective County Committee members demanding that to register for the Convention, they need to send in an email to them and write in the subject ‘I am voting for Vicky Flynn,’” the DiMaso campaign claims.
“This violates the secrecy of the ballot and the local and County Chairman will know how each individual member has voted,” the legislator’s re-election campaign said. “The pattern of intimidation would continue.”
Muriel J. Smith, a Republican county committeewoman from Atlantic Highlands, called Golden a bully.
This story was updated at 5:01 PM with comment from Smith.