TOMS RIVER-In Toms River, 2017 was seen as a victory over Republicans for state and local Democrats in Ocean County. The ruling party of New Jersey managed to crack the iron-like facade of the Ocean County Republican establishment by winning 3 out of 4 seats on the Toms River Township council.
That blue wave that swept across Brick Township and washed up on the shores of Toms River last election seems to be washing quickly back out to sea after Councilman Daniel Rodrick denounced ties with the Democratic party and switched his affiliation to Republican.
Publicly, Roderick blamed the Democrat’s platform on educational funding and the party’s stance on illegal immigration as the reason for his decision to become a Republican.
Whether or not Toms River Republicans will welcome Rodrick with open arms remains to be seen as he has been a vocal opponent of the Republican council majority since taking office.
In May, Rodrick argued with Toms River Republicans over the appointment of former Councilman Al Manforti to the Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority. Rodrick claimed Republicans only appointed Manforti to give the ex-councilman free public health benefits.
The back and forth ended after it was revealed that Rodrick and his fellow Democrats all take public health benefits for their part time council positions, costing taxpayers nearly $40,000 per year.
Political insiders claim Rodrick’s switch was also motivated by a split within the Toms River Democratic Club.
Despite being a teacher in the Middletown School Rodrick receives benefits through the township.