It looks like Monmouth County Republican leaders are coalescing around Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger and Hazlet Deputy Mayor Sue Kiley as their 2018 Freeholder candidates. Still undecided is which one gets the seat open right now and which one might have to face an incumbent, if embattled Republican John Curley seeks re-election in the GOP primary or as an independent in the general election.
Both potential candidates would prefer the bird in hand: the seat vacated last week when Serena DiMaso resigned to join the State Assembly. Republicans have a slight optics problem, replacing a woman for a man — especially with the sexual harassment allegations that have roiled the party in recent months and led to Curley’s censure. But Scharfenberger watched an Assembly seat slip through his hands last year and may not want to external circumstances further delay his career.