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Monmouth races to watch

By David Wildstein, November 05 2018 11:43 pm

Monmouth County has two freeholder races on Tuesday, as well as seven local races worth following closely.

Republicans dropped freeholder John Curley from their ticket after allegations that he sexually harassed county employees.  He is seeking re-election as an independent and faces Keyport deputy mayor Sue Kiley, the Republican, and labor union official Amber Gesslein, the Democrat.

In a race for a one-year unexpired term, Republican incumbent Gerald Scharfenberger faces Democrat Larry Luttrell.  The winner will fill the remaining fourteen months of Serena DiMaso, who resigned in January to take her seat in the State Assembly.

Republicans have had a 5-0 majority on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders since 2011, when the last Democratic freeholder, Amy Mallet, lost her bid for re-election by 8,577 votes.  For one year, in 2009, Democrats had a 3-2 majority.

Monmouth County is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans: 126, 234 Democrats and 123,532 Republicans.

Local Races

Atlantic Highlands: Democrats won control in 2017 and are seeking to keep their majority. Incumbents Roy Dellosso, Chuck Lero and Lori Hohenleitner are defending seats against Republican challengers James Murphy, Kim Spatola and Brian Boms.

Belmar:  Mayor Matt Doherty resigned earlier in the year to become the new executive director of CRDA.  Interim Mayor Brian MacGovern faces am aggressive challenge from Republican councilman Mark Walsifer, a former police officer.  Control of the council is also at stake.  Democratic incumbents Jennifer Nicolay and Mark Levis face Republican challengers Patricia Wann and James McCracken.

Eatontown: A heated race for mayor is on to succeed Republican Dennis Connelly, who is not seeking re-election. Republican Mark Regan is running against independent councilman Anthony Talerico. Gerald Tarantolo, a Democrat who spent sixteen years as Mayor, is running as a write-in candidate.  Republicans have lost council seats in the last three consecutive elections.  Independent councilwoman Virginia East is seeking re-election, with Ralph Anderson running for Talarico’s seat.  Democrats have nominated Jasmine Story and Lisa Murphy; the Republican candidates are James Corcoran and Vito Paolantinio, Jr.

Howell: Democrats won a major upset two years ago when Theresa Berger was elected mayor in a town where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 35 points. Republican councilman Robert Walsh, along with Thomas Russo and Pamela Richmond, face Democrats John Bonevich, Kristal Dias and Paul Dorato. Monmouth’s second largest town, Howell, is the home of Monmouth County Republican Chairman and Sheriff Shaun Golden.

Matawan:  Three years ago, Republicans had a 7-0 majority on the Borough Council; now it’s 7-0 Democrat.  Incumbent councilmen Nicolas Reeve and David Vergaretti face Republican challengers Frank Whelan and Anissa Esposito.

Neptune City: Control is at stake in a town with a 3-2 Republican majority. In 2015, Republican Richard Pryor (real name) and Democrat Michael Skudera finished the election tied; Pryor won a March 2016 special election and is not seeking a second term.  Republican councilman Andrew Wardell is seeking re-election on a ticket with James Sesito; they face Democrats David Calhoun and Meghan Huryk.  In a race for an unexpired term, interim Republican councilwoman Danielle Pappas faces Republican Michelle Lewis.

Red Bank: Democrats have a 4-2 majority and Republicans are defending their two seats on November 6.  Neither of the GOP councilmen are seeking re-election.  Katherine Triggiano and Hazim Yassin face Republicans Michael Clancy and Allison Gregory.

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