CANDIDATE Q&As: MIDDLETOWN

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Earlier this month, redbankgreen emailed questionnaires to local candidates for public office in towns with contested elections on November 2. Beginning today, we’re running their replies, starting with those from Middletown, where four candidates are vying for two seats on the five-member Township Committee. The committee members, not voters, select the town’s mayor.

Here’s the Middletown ballot: middletown-ballot-2010

The replies are arranged below in alphabetical order. Next week, we’ll have the replies from candidates in Sea Bright, Rumson and Red Bank.

COUNCIL UNLIKELY TO FILL LEHNERT’S SEAT

fh-boro-hallTwo weeks before he took his own life, Councilman John Lehnert had informed Mayor Mike Halfacre that he was ending his re-election bid, Halfacre says.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Though Fair Haven’s Republican committee has suggested three candidates to fill the council seat left empty by John Lehnert, who committed suicide last week, the borough council has no intention of filling the spot on an interim basis, Mayor Mike Halfacre tells redbankgreen.

In fact, GOP officials had already begun the process of replacing Lehnert on the November 2 ballot after Lehnert told Halfacre about three weeks ago that he was ending his re-election bid, Halfacre says. Lehnert’s withdrawal had not previously been publicly disclosed.

“I think out of respect for John we should leave the seat vacant until the end of his term” on December 31, Halfacre said.

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GOOCH DROPS CHALLENGE

Diane Gooch has abandoned her quest for a recount in her GOP primary race against Highlands Mayor Anna Little, the Gooch campaign said in an announcement this afternoon.

just_in1The Rumson millionaire and vice chair of the Monmouth County Republican Party says she supports Little, with whom she shares the goals of smaller government and lower taxes.

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WHO’S RUNNING, AND WHO ISN’T

menna-052609-2The path to a second term appears unobstructed for Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mayors Pasquale Menna and Mike Halfacre, of Red Bank and Fair Haven, respectively, don’t appear to have any competition in their re-election bids this year.

Both men filed petition paperwork on Monday, the state deadline, to run for re-election. No one else filed for their seats.

But they could face competition if independents write-in for the June 8 primary and November 2 general election ballots.

Menna told redbankgreen that the absence of an opponent “doesn’t mean anything. ” He said he’s only concerned with his role the next four years as the borough’s top executive.

“I can only keep on doing what I’ve been doing and do it the best I can,” he said.

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IT’S ALL-GOP IN FAIR HAVEN

fh-voterA voter who asked not to be identified signs in with her daughter at her side at the Fair Haven Fire House yesterday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By a wide margin, Fair Haven voters went straight down the Republican column when casting their votes Tuesday.

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RED BANK DEMS WIN COUNCIL SQUEAKER

election-2009-localIn the closest council race in recent memory, incumbent Red Bank Democrats Mike DuPont and Art Murphy have won re-election to the borough council.

Republican political newcomers Kim Senekeleski and Rob Lombardi have conceded.

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