Is Shaun Golden’s touch good or bad for Toms River Republicans?
TOMS RIVER-The campaign for Maurice “Mo” Hill for Mayor had a special guest this week in the form of Monmouth County GOP Chairman, Sheriff Shaun Golden. Golden came to plant his flag in Ocean County ahead of next year’s Gubernatorial election where Golden is expected to be one of several state Republicans vying for the Republican nomination to challenge Phil Murphy.
Golden also drove south to show his support for the campaign of Hill, but will Hill be cursed with Golden’s “Minus” Touch? Since taking control of the Monmouth County GOP, Golden has lost ground to Democrats in nearly every election cycle. Many elections in the county have suffered from Golden’s “Minus” Touch, losing seats for Republicans. It was Golden’s first public appearance in Ocean County since taking control of the Monmouth County Club five years ago.
This spring, the Monmouth County Democrat party has gained even more ground against Golden after last month’s election in Ocean Township gave the party majority control of the municipal council.
Ocean Township Republicans Rich Long and Donna Shepiga will be departed the governing body, being replaced with Margie Donlon and David Fisher.
Since 2015 Democrats have been gaining ground on Golden, taking 46 seats, including 3 legislative seats along the way. Since Golden has assumed power, Democrats have flipped 9 Republican towns in the county.
Democrats now control Allentown, Atlantic Highlands, Eatontown, Keyport, Long Branch, Manasquan, Matawan, Neptune City, Ocean Township, and Red Bank. Democrat Mayors are in power in Howell and Spring Lake Heights.
Since taking power, Golden has given up ground year after year to Democrats. Now, Golden, in the absence of former GOP Chairman George Gilmore is seeking to push his influence south the Republican stronghold of Ocean County where an apparent power vacuum now exists, but can Golden work his magic and help deliver a win for Hill with newly elected Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman, III?
Golden doesn’t have much to show in his visit to Toms River, but Monmouth County Democrat Chairman David. G. Brown does. He’s essentially been manhandling Golden in the election booth.
“Democrats have flipped Atlantic Highlands, Matawan, Allentown, Eatontown, Red Bank, Shrewsbury, Neptune City, Long Branch and so many other towns in recent years,” Brown said. “We’ve also won three legislative seats and elected a Democratic Mayor in Howell, Monmouth County’s second biggest town. Republicans have only flipped one town during that time period – Belmar. Most recently, Democrats won a majority of the seats in Ocean Township’s nonpartisan election – they went from having 3 Republicans on the governing body to 1.”
Brown said in total, his party has replaced over 50 Republicans since Golden took control of the Republican Party.
“We’ve replaced over 50 local Republican elected officials in recent years and we are really proud of the progress Democrats continue to make in Monmouth County,” Brown said.
Hill now faces an uphill battle in Toms River, digging out of a hole that was created for him by his opponent Daniel Rodrick, who uncovered the Admiral’s soliciting of votes and campaign donations from the growing Orthodox Community in Toms River and trying to hide that relationship from voters until the last legally possible minute.
Golden, on the other hand, is softening the ground in Ocean County as he prepares to run a primary campaign against possible opponents, including State GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt and Burlington County Republican Jack Ciattarelli. Steinhardt, who is leading the state party during what he calls the “Murphy Midterms” is hoping to channel energy against the administration of Governor Phil Murphy into state Senate and assembly victories.