Earlier this week, Toms River Mo Hill claimed he was “congratulating” one of his Republican primary challengers, Geri Ambrosio, for receiving the endorsement of the Toms River Jewish Community Council (TRJCC). But his intention was seemingly to connect Ambrosio to Orthodox Jewish expansion into Toms River, and one of Ambrosio’s allies today said that Hill was engaged in a “cynical, faith-baiting scheme.”
“Mo Hill’s twisted endorsement of Toms River First Republican Geri Ambrosio shows just how far he’ll go to hold onto power and get his 10-story affordable housing towers erected in downtown Toms River,” said Toms River Councilman Justin Lamb. “But that’s what closet Democrats like Mo Hill do: they divide, exploit, and manipulate Republicans.”
With Ocean County’s Orthodox Jewish population growing rapidly and expanding out of its traditional home of Lakewood, Orthodox Jewish development has become a top political issue in towns like Toms River.
The TRJCC is meant as a community organization for Toms River’s Orthodox population, but Hill claimed that it has engaged in intimidation and made unreasonable demands of the township. By endorsing Ambrosio, Hill insinuated, the TRJCC is hoping to get a friendly face in office to change Toms River’s zoning laws.
Lamb, however, said that it’s Hill who is in the pocket of outside interests when it comes to development in Toms River.
“Toms River residents don’t want to turn Toms River into Hackensack and we don’t want our quaint downtown waterfront turned into a little Camden on the Delaware,” Lamb said. “But Mo has dozens of confidential employees on the public payroll and he has to keep the gravy train flowing.”
Hill, who was first elected as mayor in 2019 after winning the Republican primary off-the-line, has the Ocean GOP organization line this year, in large part because Ambrosio’s Toms River Regular Republican Club lost a certification vote at last month’s county GOP convention. Two other candidates are also in the race: Councilman Daniel Rodrick and Robert Bianchini.