Most of New Jersey’s political power structure comes from the urban areas where Democrats rule the roost, but one mayor in Ocean County has garnered the attention of the world of political insiders.
In August, Insider NJ named Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato as one of the top 25 municipal chairmen to watch in the 2019 elections. In fact, many of our readers often call for Amato to run for Governor, so he’s also grabbing the attention of voters outside of his own community.
In the wake of the party shakeup in Ocean County in 2019 which despite seeing victories across the board, victory wasn’t so certain in the county’s biggest race, Toms River and the party did not recapture Democrat stronghold Brick Township.
Republicans here won the big battle, Toms River by just one point in a town where Trump reigned supreme in 2016 with one of the highest margins in New Jersey.
In Amato’s Berkeley Township, however, the story was much different. Amato won his re-election by a 4 to 1 margin, garnering 80% of the vote in his town.
His overwhelming and decisive victory puts Amato in the power seat in next year’s congressional election where Republicans will have to unseat a growingly popular Democrat, Andy Kim, who snuck in the back door in 2018 while the sheepdogs were sleeping.
“The chair of the local Republican Party here is the man to go through locally for GOP candidates looking for key building blocks of power in Ocean County. Amato will be critical for any Republican trying to build toward a 2020 challenge of U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3),” Insider NJ said, ranking Amato at #17 in the state, but #1 at the Jersey Shore.
If Amato was ranked #17 before the election, it would be interesting to see where he ranks after his party’s crushing victories this past Election Day.