Frank Holman III became the first new Ocean County Republican chairman since 1996 Wednesday, defeating Frank Sadeghi by 25 votes to replace former county chairman George Gilmore.
Holman won 254 to 229, a 52%-48% margin, in a special election of GOP county committee members in Toms River tonight.
“What a great exercise in democracy. The crowd here tonight, everybody hung around. Thank you very much,” Holman said in a brief speech following his victory. “I meant what I said: We’re going to unify this party again, and we’re going to start working on that right away.”
Roughly 75%, 481, of Ocean County’s 641 sitting Republican committee people came out to vote Wednesday.
During his campaign for party chair, Holman pledged to run more Republican women for office in the county.
He repeated that pledge before voting began Wednesday evening and swatted away attacks made by Sadeghi over donations made to Democrats by members of his firm.
Holman, who is president of the public accounting firm Holman Frenia Allison, said he intends to retire from the firm when he turns 65 later this week.
The firm serves as an independent auditor for numerous municipalities within the county.
The new chairman, who is the son of former state Republican Chairman Gen. Frank B. Holman, has been involved in politics for decades, but his bid to replace Gilmore was his first run at office.
Both candidates praised Gilmore, who had served as county chairman for 23 years before he resigned last month following his conviction on federal tax charges, in their pre-vote speeches.
A jury convicted Gilmore, who attended Wednesday’s convention, on two counts of failing to file employee tax returns and on one count of making false statements on a bank loan application.
He was found not guilty on two counts of filing false tax returns, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on federal tax evasion charges.
Gilmore resigned from his role at the head of the county party on April 19.