George Gilmore named his own replacement on the Ocean County Board of Elections during his final hours as county chairman, but his pick was torpedoed by a onetime ally, freeholder chair Virginia Haines.
Gilmore resigned his seat on the Board of Elections on April 23, days after his conviction on federal tax charges. He resigned as county chairman the following day, after appointing Christopher J. Dasti to replace him.
Haines, the Republican state committeewoman, refused to sign the nomination papers for Dasti and pushed for the appointment to be held until after Republicans picked a new county chairman.
The winner of last night’s election, Frank Holman III, will now get to name Gilmore’s Board of Elections replacement. Holman had the backing of Joseph Buckalew, who preceded Gilmore as county chairman and is viewed as a man of gravitas in Ocean GOP circles.
Gilmore backed Frank Sadeghi, who lost by 25 votes, 254 to 229.
Gilmore, vice chair Barbara Lanuto, and state committeeman Thomas Kelaher signed Dasti’s paperwork, but because the documents were missing Haines’ signature, Gov. Phil Murphy’s office rejected the nomination.
Republican state chairman Doug Steinhardt also approved Dasti’s original nomination.
“Chairman Steinhardt signed off on the appointment because it came from a sitting chair,” said a state GOP spokesman, Harrison Neely. “It was sent to the governors office. The state committee was informed that it would not be processed because it was missing signatures. Chairman Steinhardt will sign off on the new chairman’s nomination.”
Gilmore resigned his seat on the Board of Elections on April 23, appointed attorney Christopher J. Dasti to fill his vacant seat, and then resigned as county chairman the following day.
The governor’s office has pledged to expedite the appointment of a second Republican in time for the June 4 primary election if the paperwork is submitted properly.
It is not immediately clear whether Holman will name Dasti, the son of Jerry Dasti, a longtime Ocean County GOP insider and the law partner of State Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Lacey) and Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin (R-Toms River).
Holman has pledged to address a significant gender gap in Ocean County Republican politics and could decide to name a woman to the seat. The current Board of Elections is comprised of three men.