Monmouth County Commissioner Lillian Burry, who will celebrate her 87th birthday next week, is not sure if she will seek re-election to a seventh term this year and could face a challenge in the Republican primary if she does.
“I haven’t decided yet,” she told the New Jersey Globe today.
Burry caused a stir at the county reorganization meeting on Thursday when she voted against Tom Arnone for another term as director of the Board of Commissioners, a move that will only increase speculation that she may have a tough time winning party support at the Monmouth GOP convention this winter.
“I felt it was enough already. He’s been the director for the last five years,” Burry said. “Not that I don’t think he’s capable. He is. But it’s time for a new person.”
She also abstained on the re-election of Nick DiRocco as the deputy director, rejecting an argument that there should be continuity of leadership.
Burry was not any liaison positions for 2023, an unusual occurrence. The other four commissioners will pick up her workload.
Another incumbent on the all-Republican board, Ross Licitra, is expected to seek a second term this year.
If she wants to run again this year, at least on the organization line, Burry will need to decide sometime next month. The Monmouth GOP has not set a convention date – it’s typically held in March — but candidates competing for organizational support will be required to file nominating petitions about two weeks before. Republicans have a deep bench in Monmouth.
Burry did say that she’s happy with her accomplishments as a county commissioner over the last eighteen years.
“I had goals and I achieved most of them,” she said, pointing to a successful initiative to provide more services to veterans.
Burry was elected freeholder (now county commissioner) in 2005 when a Green Party candidate, Brian Unger, wound up as a spoiler after receiving over 18,000 votes. Burry defeated Democrat Barbara McMorrow by 1,792 votes.
She had begun her political career more than 50 years ago when she won a seat on the Matawan Borough Council in 1970. She later moved to Colts Neck, where she eventually became a township committeewoman and mayor.