A slate of conservative insurgents running as Donald Trump supporters topped the Republican machine in Stafford Township on Tuesday, with the mayor and four incumbents on the township council losing the Republican primary.
The defeat of mayor John Spadofora and his entire slate of six council candidates could have a personal financial impact on many key allies of the Ocean County Republican organization: State Sen. Christopher Connors is the township attorney, State Sen. James Holzapfel is the township prosecutor, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf is the public defender, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin in the labor counsel, and Connor Strong & Buckalew are the employee benefits consultants.
The town of 27,000 gave Trump a 68% win in 2016 and the candidates who won the GOP primary for mayor and council ran on the “Ocean County MAGA Republicans” slogan. Republican congressional candidate Seth Grossman, who ran on that ticket, ran just 32 votes behind Hirsh Singh, who had the organization line in Ocean County. (Seven districts in Stafford are in the 2nd district; the rest are represented by Rep. Tom MacArthur.)
Spadofora lost to Gregory Myhre by 86 votes, and all the council races were close; councilwoman Sharon McKenna lost by just 47 votes.
Democrats did not run a slate of candidates in the primary but sensing the possibility that Myhre and his ticket had a chance, they mounted a last-minute write-in campaign to nominate Democrats for mayor and council. The Ocean County Board of Elections said this morning that the write-ins are still being tabulated.
Stafford is a Republican stronghold and Spadofora was re-elected in 2015 with 61% of the vote, but a Democratic source said today that the party will actively contest Stafford if their write-in candidates qualify.