LAKEWOOD-The Lakewood VAAD, an influential community council serving Orthodox residents here has denied claims that it had endorsed any candidates in the recent Jackson Township School Board election.
In that election, longtime Jackson school board member Sharon Dey soundly defeated her opponents Tara Rivera and Elenor Hannum. Dey and Rivera both won seats while Hannum ended election night at the bottom of the voting column, receiving 3,000 votes less than frontrunner Dey.
After her election loss, Hannum took to social media to blame the Lakewood VAAD’s endorsement of Dey, claiming Dey was supported by the VAAD, blaming Jackson’s Orthodox Jews for her loss.
“One of the things we noticed though…..is the VAAD, supported Sharon Dey for the School Board of Education. I’m not sure how to interpret it, but I’m sure block voting of any candidate should start to make EVERYONE in Jackson nervous. And so it begins……,” Hannum posted.
Hannum was referring to a letter distributed within the small population of Orthodox Jewish residents that urged their neighbors to vote for Dey.
Dey flatly rejected Hannum’s false claims as political nonsense.
Blaming her election loss on the Vaad was a continuation of Hannum’s fear tactics that surrounded her entire school board campaign which focused mostly on issues concerning the 400 or so Orthodox families now living in Jackson. She has also blamed Shore News Network and the Asbury Park Press for her election loss and likewise accused other community members of creating fictitious Facebook pages that were intended to hurt her campaign, which also proved to be false allegations.
Hannum and her campaign ally Cathy Giancola both slammed the Asbury Park Press’ board of education preview story as a “hit job” against the candidate.
“I’m so sad this turned out to be a hit job on the challengers for the seats on the board,” Giancola, said. “Not only did you seem to take the interview you had with Elenor out of context, but instead of using her candidate picture you dug up a picture of her to make her look bad. Mike Davis, this is where we end our relationship. Please do not turn to me about anything Jackson again.”
“All I have to say is WOW!!! These statements were absolutely not put into the context of what I said to Mr. Davis from the APP. Seems as though there is an agenda here,” Hannum said.
In an article in this week’s Voice of Lakewood, a community weekly, the VAAD denied the allegations made by Hannum.
“The VAAD did not endorse any of the Jackson Board of Ed candidates,” VoL said. “In the same vein, being that Hannum lost by thousands, blaming Jackson’s few hundred Jewish voters is sloppy at best.”
Hannum’s post on her social media page also led to reality checks by non-Jewish residents.
“The only thing [Hannum]is accomplishing is fueling hate and divisiveness,” said Jack Pratt. “You’re 100% wrong for suggesting that the VAAD had an impact on this election.”
Even if the Vaad supported Hannum and all 400 Orthodox families voted in the election, she would have lost the election by over 2,000 votes.