TOMS RIVER, NJ – Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman’s reign of fear and terror is coming to an end in Ocean County this June. After meeting with party elders, including former GOP Chairman Joe Buckalew, party elite say it’s time for the once-powerful, a now divided organization to come back together peacefully.
In a series of talks held over the past few months to avoid a knock-em dead, all-out brawl between Holman and former GOP Chairman George Gilmore, the party has decided to go in a different direction and throw their support behind Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy to serve as the next Ocean County GOP Chairman. Today Holman was the first to endorse Mastronardy as his successor.
Mastronardy has spent his public career as a Toms River Police officer as a bridge-builder. Mastronardy went on to become police chief of Toms River then managed the county through the 2012 Superstorm Sandy disaster as the elected sheriff.
Holman, since taking office, along with his close allies created political hit lists and went into full war mode with Gilmore, who maintained a shadow chairman relationship with the party in the two years since Holman took office. That action was seen as Holman as meddling and Holman ordered the hit on many Republicans he felt were still loyal to Gilmore instead of him.
In the two years since taking power, the Ocean County GOP, once one of the strongest political organizations in the state, had fallen from grace, losing primary elections and failing to get state-level candidates across the finish line. Holman has also been sharply criticized by the party elite as being an absentee chairman, taking weeks-long trips throughout the year, being a hands-off chairman, to the frustration of many as the county burned around him.
While many are uncertain about Mastronardy’s ability to heal the deep wounds created during the Holman-Gilmore feud, some are confident in the plan.
At this point, it’s uncertain if Gilmore will challenge Mastronardy as the two are longtime friends and political allies, but Mastronardy folded into the Holman camp shortly after the pay-to-play accountant seized power.
“Sheriff Mastronardy is a proven leader, a strong administrator, a uniter, a man of tremendous integrity, a great ambassador to our religious communities, and a dedicated public servant,” Holman said during his endorsement of Mastronardy. “All of which has made him a pretty popular guy. I am confident that with your help, he will lead our party to even greater success.”
If Gilmore or other candidates for chairman decide to challenge Mastronardy, county committee members will vote at the annual County Convention on Thursday, March 10th.