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The boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

GOP infighting brewing in Point Pleasant Beach

By Nikita Biryukov, February 20 2019 3:36 pm

Republicans in Point Pleasant Beach are rearing to jump at each other’s throats after Mayor Stephen Reid announced he would run for reelection instead of seeking the Assemblyman David Wolfe’s seat.

Councilman Paul Kanitra, who had previously said he would only seek the town’s mayoral seat if Reid got the Republican nod for Wolfe’s seat, is staying in the race, and he’s claiming Reid threatened his career and life over the matter.

“The events of the past few weeks have forced me to act,” Kanitra said. “As many of you know, the Mayor personally and viciously threatened my career and life in a series of explicit text messages after my announcement. I was told ‘I will do everything in my power to make sure you will not only lose but we’ll make sure your political career is over’ and ‘I’m going to make a statement and F’ing ruin you for good.’ Now, what you may not know is that this was not an isolated incident.”

Reid denies having threatened Kanitra, saying the latter quoted him out of context.

“I never really did. That’s old news. It’s something that he took a text, a part of a text, not the whole text, sent it to the reporters about two weeks ago, two or three weeks ago, but that’s just typical Paul,” Reid said. “I’m not worried about that. That’s just Paul.”

But those charges aren’t the only ones Kanitra has leveled against the mayor, who said he had not seen the Facebook video in which Kanitra attacks his electoral opponent.

Kanitra claims that Reid threatened his reelection on more than one occasion when the councilman moved out of step with Reid’s policies. He also claimed the mayor was seeking reelection as a “consolation prize” after the Ocean County Republican screening committee recommended Brick Council President John Catalano for Wolfe’s seat.

Republicans hold huge majorities in Point Pleasant Beach, but their victories at a local level are typically eked out by a margin of roughly 100 votes.

“In the last election, our local candidates received 200-400 less votes than our U.S. Senatorial, U.S. Congressional and County Freeholder candidates received in Point Pleasant Beach. That means that hundreds of Republicans went right down the ballot selecting Republican candidates and then changed their mind and voted for Democrats when it came to our local race,” Kanitra said. “It’s a major indicator of a Mayor that is total out of touch and focused on aspirations for higher office more than looking out for our residents here at home.”

The prospect of two Republicans at one another’s throats might not bode well for what should be a safe general election.

But Reid said he isn’t worried about that. Still, he didn’t much want to discuss the issue.

“Paul can say and do whatever he wants,” Reid said. “Paul’s been planning this for quite a long time. He’s only been a councilman for a year, and I know he’s been wanting to be a mayor for a long time, so a lot of this stuff is made up in his own head, but that’s fine. That’s Paul.”

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3 thoughts on “GOP infighting brewing in Point Pleasant Beach

  1. This level of fighting is unusual and can’t be good for PB. Being a Mayor is a demanding and complex job with serious 24/7 responsibility, not a plum mid career checkpoint for the young and ambitious. Kanitra, is a DC lobbyist. Per his firm’s Wiki page, Kanitra has been a lobbyist for the city of Point Pleasant Beach (who hired him for that and when?). Other clients listed on his webpage, lobbyit.com, include the American Jail Association. He is running against Reid, the anti-marihuana lobbyist incumbent mayor, in Point Beach in a primary? A third person (part of the town council and same small town political cartel) announced his intended run for Mayor if Reid had gotten the assembly seat. I guess the drama could really start if that third person jumps in, since there are some pretty big skeletons in that closet. Who knows if contemporaneous evidence of that behavior would come out in this political environment. It sure seems like there are several people who perceive a lot power and prestige of being Mayor and are in a big hurry. With these PB mayor candidates staging YouTube videos and conditional pre-announcements, are they really making this about themselves, not about their town? Isn’t that a red flag about this entire group. And the current actions toward the school district are tragic. Who is the superintendent? Has he/she ever been a teacher before? The school has some of the best teachers on the Shore and is consistently ranked among the best in the state, despite below average facilities. They can’t afford to provide health care to paraprofessionals who do a hard and thankless job serving the students who need special assistance? In a town with far more revenue streams than most towns in America. I’m skeptical of such ambitious politicians fighting over being the Mayor of such a small town. Back in the day, the people on the Council in this town and unusually the Mayor were teachers and salesman and lawyers etc. just trying to help the town they loved in their extra time. And they made the town something special. These developments are all very sad. Seems like an honorable PPB resident, who hasn’t long ago long retired, reading this should get in the game and run against all of these people because it’s not yet knowable who the lesser of the “evils” is in this drama.

    1. If Kanitra can fully drain the swamp, than PPB should be all in for him. If he commits to not making nice with Toohey Vogel et al., then he’s likely for real. Any association with that crew implies corruption. See decisions relating to borough attorneys, marijuana policy. any association with that crew implies tolerance for bullying. The town has the potential to offer even better schools, even lower taxes, more refined tourism, make science based adaptation decisions and set a tone for ethical governance in a state that sorely needs it. Just five years after Vogel and Toohey started changing statutes to enable patronage, it’s time for real change. Is it Kanitra? Is it a Dem.? Who knows. Kanitra is much more sophisticated than the current crew and previous mayors who were smart, dedicated and ethical got a lot done…

  2. his level of fighting is unusual and can’t be good for PB. Being a Mayor is a demanding and complex job with serious 24/7 responsibility, not a plum mid career checkpoint for the young and ambitious. Kanitra, is a DC lobbyist. Per his firm’s Wiki page Kanitra has been a lobbyist for the city of Point Pleasant Beach (who hired him for that and when?). Other clients listed on his webpage, include the American Jail Association. He is running against Reid, the anti-marihuana lobbyist incumbent mayor, in Point Beach in a primary? A third person (part of the town council and same small town political cartel) announced his intended run for Mayor if Reid had gotten the assembly seat. I guess the drama could really start if that third person, a current councilman, jumps in, since there are some pretty big skeletons in that closet that speak directly and decisively to the integrity and suitability of that councilman who per announced to serve in any elected office. Who knows if contemporaneous evidence of his behavior would come out in this political environment. Also, wha was that same third person’s reason for being the one speaking openly to the media in mid-2017 in support of the marihuana policy? Regardless of one’s thoughts on that issue, why was there such urgency? It sure seems like there are several people who perceive a lot power and prestige of being Mayor and are in a big hurry. With these PB mayor candidates staging YouTube videos and conditional pre-announcements, are they really making this about themselves, not about their town? Isn’t that a red flag about this entire group. And the current actions toward the school district are tragic. Who is the superintendent? Has he/she ever been a teacher before? The school has some of the best teachers on the Shore and is consistently ranked among the best in the state, despite below average facilities. They can’t afford to provide health care to paraprofessionals who do a hard and thankless job serving the students who need special assistance? In a town with far more revenue streams than most towns in America. I’m skeptical of such ambitious politicians fighting over being the Mayor of such a small town. Back in the day, the people on the Council in this town and unusually the Mayor were teachers and salesman and lawyers etc. just trying to help the town they loved in their extra time. And they made the town something special. These developments are all very sad. Seems like an honorable PPB resident, who hasn’t long ago long retired, reading this should get in the game and run against all of these people because it’s not yet knowable who the lesser of the “evils” is in this drama.

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