Today’s the day Red Bank Councilman John Curley finds out if he’ll be running on the GOP ticket for Monmouth County Freeholder.
The Republicans will hold their convention at the Middletown Veterans of Foreign Wars post, where they’ll choose either Curley or Holmdel Mayor Serena DiMaso as the running mate for the incumbent Lillian G. Burry.
The two-person slate will oppose Democrats Glenn Mason and Fair Haven resident Amy Mallet in November.
Unlike some of his past battles with borough Democrats he once counted himself among, Curley’s monthlong campaign against DiMaso has been friction-free as they each seek the county GOP nod.
At a meeting with the party’s committee in Howell, “John told them that this was the first time he didn’t feel like punching his opponent in the face,” DiMaso told the Asbury Park Press last week.
Curley also told the Press that getting his message out to the party’s 700 delegates been quite a slog.
“It’s been night after night after night of meeting people. I got home 11 p.m. last night (Thursday) and that was earlier than usual,” Curley said Friday. “But I expected this to be something where I’d be out and about, and I absolutely love it. There’s no better way to find out what people from all walks of life are thinking.”
Curley (who was absent from Monday night’s borough council meeting) is known in Red Bank for his relentless door-to-door campaigns, even when he’s not up for re-election. But as his council term expires at the end of this year and he’s said he’ll run for re-election if he’s not on the freeholder ballot, one way or another, we can expect him to be pounding asphalt this summer and fall.
Here’s what local-politics wag (and county committee member) Art Gallagher has to say on his blog, More Monmouth Musings:
Both Curley and DiMaso have run respectable, adult campaigns for the nomination. Both have established themselves as viable candidates. The question is not who is most qualified, but who gives the ticket the best chance of a sweep.
This race may hinge on each candidate’s speech at the convention.
PolitikerNJ has an analysis of the GOP’s chances with either DiMaso or Curley riding shotgun for Burry.
The book on Curley is he works hard and campaigns hard in his own right. Although he doesn’t possess the spit-shined Republican credentials of DiMaso, supporters argue that his unconventional background gives him ammo to fight the charge that Monmouth County is run by an old boys’ network of Republicans.
“The Asbury Park Press will buy into this concept of the Freeholders awarding contracts to high instead of low bidders, and that could come back to haunt Republicans in the fall,” explained Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre. “If you’re explaining, you’re losing, and John won’t have to do that.”
“If I had to vote, I would vote for Curley,” Halfacre added. “John can run as an outsider, and that’s where we have to position ourselves.”