Ocean County Democrats have endorsed Brick Planning Board member Eileen Della Volle and teachers union president Erin Wheeler for State Assembly in the 10th district.
They are expected to face Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin (R-Toms River) and former Brick councilman John Catalano in the general election. Incumbent David Wolfe (R-Brick) is retiring after 28 years in the legislature.
Vincent Barrella, who was elected mayor of Point Pleasant Beach as a Republican in 2008 and re-elected as a independent, had also sought the Democratic Assembly nomination. Della Volle and Wheeler defeated Barrella in a vote by the county Democratic organization.
Della Volle is the vice president of an engineering firm and Wheeler is the president of the Monmouth County Vocational Education Association.
“We are humbled to have been selected by fellow members of the Ocean County Democratic Committee,” said Della Volle and Wheeler. “We are commitment to fight for our fair share of school funding, transportation funding for our roads, state funding for our local economy to create and grow jobs, and to stop the degradation of Barnegat Bay. We look forward to starting our listening tour of the district and learning more about what matters most to the residents of LD 10.”
Della Volle has served on the Southern New Jersey Development Council board and on the Brick Zoning Board. She was named to the “Top 50 Women in Business” as well as “40 under 40 Award” by NJBiz Magazine.
A Brick native, Della Volle says she is a strong supporter of public education and says that high property taxes in New Jersey and the reduction in state aid to many local school districts is a barrier to quality education.
“My education has provided me with tremendous opportunities. I was in elementary school when my father passed away and I watched my mother struggle to complete her GED,” Della Volle said. “I knew at an early age that education was my ticket to better way of life; I want those same opportunities for Ocean County residents.”
Wheeler has been a high school chemistry and physics teacher for fourteen years and now leads her union.
Republicans have held the 10th district Assembly seats since 1991 and have a voter registration edge of 15,600.
Looming large over the 2019 campaign is the upcoming trial of Ocean County GOP chairman George Gilmore on federal tax evasion charges.
Brick has a two-term Democratic mayor and a Democratic-controlled township council.
Toms River, the largest municipality in the district, has a control election for control of the council and a competitive race brewing for mayor. Three-term incumbent Thomas Kelaher, 86, is not seeking re-election. Gilmore’s candidate, former Ocean County prosecutor Joseph Coronato faces a primary challenge from councilman Dan Rodrick.