Ocean County Republicans will reopen their screening process to endorse a candidate for State Committeeman, GOP County Chairman Frank Holman said today.
The incumbent, 88-year-old former Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher, died on Sunday.
Kelaher had been unopposed for re-election for re-election to a fourth four-year term in the June 8 primary election. He was first elected in 2009, two years after winning the Toms River mayoral election, when the venerable Joseph Buckalew stepped down.
Holman said candidates for the state committee post will have an opportunity to appear before the screening committee in advance of the March 4 Ocean County Republican Convention.
“I think Tom’s military service may be what he’s most proud of,” Holman said.
Republican State Chairman Michael Lavery said that his part was “absolutely devastated” by Kelaher’s passing.
“His record of service is exceptional. He served the shore area as Ocean County prosecutor and Mayor of Toms River, was a Marine Corps Veteran, and he helped guide Ocean County through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” Lavery said.