Home>Campaigns>Haines, Kelly get Ocean GOP endorsement for re-election as county commissioners

Ocean County Freeholder Virginia Haines

Haines, Kelly get Ocean GOP endorsement for re-election as county commissioners

Toms River school board member places distant third at Republican convention

By David Wildstein, March 10 2022 7:38 pm

Two veteran Ocean County Commissioners scored lopsided victories to win the Republican organization line tonight.

Virginia Haines received 152 votes and Jack Kelly took 149, easily defeating Toms River school board member Ashley Lamb, who received 37 votes.

Lamb had indicated that she was in the race to oppose only Haines, but Kelly declined an opportunity to become the convention pick by acclamation and willingly competed in the vote.

Two other candidates, Jackson Councilman Andrew Kern and former Brick Councilman Michael Thulen, Sr., dropped out of the race after the GOP screening committee backed Haines and Kelly.

Sheriff Michael Mastronardy had no opposition.  He is the heavy favorite to become the new Ocean County Republican Chairman in June when incumbent Frank Holman retires.

Kelly was first elected in 1992 and Haines was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2016.

A former Eagleswood mayor, Kelly and James Lacey ousted Democrats Paul Brush and Mark Troncone, the last two Democrats to win a countywide election in Ocean County, by about 15,000 votes in 1992.

Haines has served as a county commissioner since 2016 and is just the second woman to hold an elected county post.  She served as an aide to then-Assemblyman Bob Singer (R-Lakewood) and as Assembly Clerk before winning a State Assembly seat in the 1991 GOP wave election.  She later resigned from the Assembly when Gov. Christine Todd Whitman named her as the executive director of the New Jersey Lottery.  Haines is the Republican National Committeewoman from New Jersey.

A salon and floral shop owner, Lamb was elected to the Toms River Board of Education in 2020.  She finished second in a field of nine candidates for two seats, finishing 2,439 votes ahead of the fourth-place finisher, Rachel Remelgado.   Her husband, Justin Lamb, is a Toms River councilman.

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