A pair of Marine Corps helicopters rehearsed Tuesday at Holmdel High School for the arrival of President Obama on Thursday. The aircraft are designated as Marine One only when the president is aboard. (Photo courtesy of Manny Carabel)
Red Bank may be a shining beacon for Democrats in heavily Republican Monmouth County, but the party’s most faithful could be stuck at home watching President Obama on television when he appears less than a dozen miles away in Holmdel on Thursday.
redbankgreen has learned that arrangements for two busloads of local Dems who had hoped to be part of the Obama lovefest were canceled earlier this week by the re-election campaign of Gov. Jon Corzine.
According to Mayor Pasquale Menna, the cancellation came in the wake of a change in venue for Obama’s speech from New Brunswick to Holmdel to accommodate demand for seats.
Menna said he was told that the “space considerations” dictated the change.
“We got a call Monday that our slots had been bumped,” Menna told us. “Their position is that they can’t fit the people they previously committed to.”
According to various reports, some 50,000 people have sought tickets for the event.
As of 6p Wednesday, the buses had not been put back on the list of those to be allowed into the PNC Arts Center, the 17,500-seat arena that will host Obama’s appearance on behalf of Corzine’s re-election bid.
Without the buses, party members wouldn’t be able to get in, because the 100 passes that had been promised to Menna go hand-in-hand with the bus transportation, Menna confirms.
Barring a last-minute fix, which Menna said he’s still hoping for, the most reliably Democratic bloc in Monmouth County may be shut out of the biggest party event in the history of its home county.
“We’re still in a holding pattern right now,” Menna told us. He said he’s still holding out hope that at least one busload of 50 will be let in.
Asked if Red Bank Democrats who recently hosted Corzine twice in three days, once at a campaign fundraiser at the home of former Mayor Ed McKenna felt snubbed, Menna called the cancellation “disappointing but understandable. You have to understand the logistics.”
As for Hizzoner himself, Menna said he has been assured he would be allowed in, but he won’t go if he can’t bring at least 50 of his friends.
“If they don’t let my people go, I won’t go,” he said. “I’ve been called ‘Moses’ by the folks in Trenton more than once this week.”