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Former Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers.

With Trump leaving, three N.J. women might soon be out of a job

Christine Myers, ex-Morris freeholder now at the SBA, could challenge Sherrill in 2022

By David Wildstein, December 08 2020 9:53 am

The election of Joe Biden will likely affect a group of former New Jersey Republican officeholders occupying low-level posts in Donald Trump’s administration.

Christine Myers, who gave up her seat on the Morris County Board of Freeholders to take a federal post, will likely be out from her job as regional advocate for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Former Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande is the the Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Academic Programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.    She’ll be gone as soon as U.S. Secretary of State-designate Tony Blinken picks his own team.

Former Monmouth County Freeholder Anna Little is a federal immigration judge, a U.S. Department of Justice staff post that hears cases involving removal proceedings for immigrants and their families.

Myers works in New Jersey and New York and maintained her home in Mendham, but Casagrande and Little moved out of state to take their posts.

Casagrande and her family relocated to Washington, and Little was assigned to the San Francisco Immigration Court.

Also on the potential chopping block: former Point Pleasant Council President Michael Thulen.  He serves as the New Jersey State Rural Development Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a post he’s held since April 2019.

Myers was among the Republicans former Gov. Chris Christie tried to recruit to run for Congress in the 11th district after Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) announced his retirement in 2018.  She declined, preferring to remain in her SBA post.

After walking away from her freeholder seat – she served her final year while working at the SBA but didn’t run again – Myers is now a potential challenger to Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in 2022.

The 44-year-old Casagrande served eight years in the State Assembly before losing her seat in 2015 to Democrats Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Joann Downey (D-Freehold).

She moved to Washington in 2018 to join the Trump administration and now lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children.

It’s not immediately clear if Casagrande will return to New Jersey.

As an immigration judge, Little granted a statistically higher number of asylum applications than the national average,  according to a Syracuse University study.

She approved 626 asylum claims and denied 109, about 17%.  Nationally, immigration court judges denied 66.7% during the Trump era.

Little, a former Tea Party darling, served on the Highlands borough council  from 2002 to 2006, when she won a special election convention  for Monmouth County freeholder after Amy Handlin resigned to join the State Assembly.  She was elected mayor of Highlands in 2007.

In 2010, Little sought the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 6th district in a contested primary with organization choice Diane Gooch, a local newspaper publisher who was prepared to self-fund a race against Pallone.

Little beat Gooch by 83 votes, a 50.3% to 49.7% margin.

A September Monmouth University poll showed Pallone with a 12-point lead, but by October, the Monmouth Poll showed a 52 to 45% race with Pallone leading by just 7 points.  The poll gave Little a seven-point lead in the Monmouth County portion of the district, with Pallone by 21 points in Middlesex.

Pallone defeated Little by 16,520 votes, 55%-44%.

In a 2012 rematch, Pallone swamped Little, winning by 67,422 votes (63% to 35%).

Thulen is a former treasurer of the Young Republican National Federation, a former New Jersey Young Republican State Chairman, and a former Lakewood building inspector.

This story was updated at 1:16 PM to include Thulen.

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