Home>Campaigns>Holman resigns from Ocean Board of Elections, leaving seat for Gilmore to fill

Former Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore.

Holman resigns from Ocean Board of Elections, leaving seat for Gilmore to fill

Unclear whether Gilmore will name himself to post he held for years prior to 2019 resignation

By David Wildstein, July 13 2022 2:28 pm

Former Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman has resigned from the Ocean County Board of Elections because he’s moving to Florida, giving his successor, George Gilmore, the chance to pick his replacement.

Gilmore regained the county chairman post last week after defeating Sheriff Michael Mastronardy by 13 votes.   He had spent 23 years as the Ocean Republican boss before resigning in 2019 following his criminal conviction on federal tax-related charges.

Holman, who won a close race to succeed Gilmore as county chairman, did not see re-election.

Gilmore served on the Board of Elections for many years but resigned in 2019.  Holman named himself to the Board of Elections to fill Gilmore’s seat.

The state law laying out the process to appoint Board of Elections commissioners is complicated.

County chairs, with their vice chair and state committee members, have the statutory authority to effectively appoint two members of his or her party to the Board of Elections – or three if the county Board of Commissioners votes to increase the size of the board.

The county chair must obtain signatures of the vice chair and the state committee members on the nomination form and submit that to the state party chair for approval.  Then it goes to the governor, who appears legally obligated to make a direct nomination of a party’ candidate.

Muddying the process is a 2019 consent order Gilmore agreed to forfeiting his public positions, including the Board of Elections.

President Donald Trump pardoned Gilmore on his last day in office in January 2021 and state Supreme Court reinstated Gilmore’s law license.   But Gilmore’s two felony convictions and the forfeiture order remain in effect, so it’s not clear whether the new county chairman can again appoint himself.

It’s also not clear whether Gilmore can execute some statutory responsibilities that come with the county chairmanship, which is not necessarily a public office.

It will be up to Gov. Phil Murphy to decide – probably with some advice from the attorney general’s office – if Gilmore can be the appointing authority and the appointee if he wants it.

County chairs frequently serve on the Board of Elections,  the panel that literally counts the votes.  Ocean County Democratic Chairman Wyatt Earp now holds one of the seats.

Holman’s term as an elections commissioner was not due to expire until May 2023.

Gilmore Consent Order 2019
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