The screening committee of the Monmouth County Republicans failed Saturday to select a slate to run for two county freeholder seats open in November, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Red Bank Borough Councilman John Curley’s still in the running to stand for election with incumbent Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry after the elimination of two other contenders. Also still standing are Holmdel Mayor Serena DiMaso and Freehold Township Zoning Board member Steven Walsh.

Curley, DiMaso and Walsh were tied for a spot on the GOP ticket, party Chairman Adam Puharic told the Press.

Puharic said that, according to the organization’s bylaws, as chairman, he is responsible for narrowing that list of three to two names before the county convention on March 26. He said he has yet to make a decision and that he will announce his choice publicly at 6 p.m. Monday at the party’s Lincoln Day dinner at Southgate Manor in Freehold.

“This is an interesting result and we want everyone to stay tuned,” Puharic said.

The failure to reach a consensus is not an indication of a fissure within the party, Puharic said, but a signal that the Monmouth GOP ranks are thriving.

“It’s indicative of great strength of candidates. It was hard to let any of them go,” he said.

According to Art Gallagher, who blogs about the county party at More Monmouth Musings, two versions of what happened at the closed-door session are in the air…

…one that is consistent with Puharic’s report of a tie, and another that Curley was the favorite of the vast majority of screening committee members, and that DiMaso and Walsh were tied for second.

Knocked out were former Howell Planning Board member Russ Bohlin and Neptune resident Eileen Kean, the director of government affairs for the Medical Society of New Jersey.

GOP Freeholder William C. Barham of Monmouth Beach is not seeking reelection to the board, on which Republicans hold a 3-2 majority.

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