Joseph M. DiBella

Howell Democrats

MORLINO CALLS ON MAYOR, COUNCIL TO LET PUBLIC SPEAK

HOWELL TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ): Howell Township Democratic Municipal Chairman Steve Morlino today calls upon Howell's Mayor Joseph DiBella and the town council to stop attempting to limit the public’s right to address their government.

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Howell Democrats

MORLINO CALLS ON COST OVERRUNS TO GET LOOK FROM PROSECUTOR

HOWELL TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ): Howell Township Democratic Municipal Chairman Steve Morlino today called upon Howell's Mayor Joseph DiBella and the town council to refer the cost overruns of the North Howell Little League concession stand to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's office.

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Niemann's got woes

Frederick Niemann was a giant killer in 2004. He had defeated the 17-year incumbent, William Dowd, for Monmouth County Republican Chairman, and seemed destined to a career of relative power as the boss of a large and powerful county GOP organization. But two years later, the Monmouth GOP is in disarray and Niemann may face a tough race if he wants to get re-elected to a second term. To Niemann's credit, he took over under difficult circumstances -- his party had just been through an unsuccessful bid to get Co-Senate President John Bennett re-elected, and Bennett's ethical issues had hurt the entire party. The following year, an early-morning sweep left eleven Monmouth County political leaders of both parties under arrest. But Niemann had had some problems, and today his party organization seems deeply divided. He has gotten into hot water over publicly indentifying loopholes in campaign fundraising laws, and for comments made about terrorism. His candidate in a Special Election Convention for Monmouth County Freeholder lost. And last Saturday, a convention to pick a new Freeholder candidate was a disaster. Niemann played footsy with one candidate, who failed to secure a first ballot win. The second ballot was full of contoversy: the Monmouth GOP Executive Director said that voting machines "were recalibrated after the voting was started." The vote ended with a one-vote margin for Manalapan Committeeman Andrew Lucas, but the party official later said it was a tie. Yesterday, Howell Mayor Joseph DiBella dropped out of the race.

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The Battle of Monmouth

Already experiencing trouble among party leaders, Monmouth County Republican Chairman Frederick Niemannn took a huge hit last Friday when the Asbury Park Press reported that he and his Finance Chaiman, Josh Elkes, set up political action committees in municipalities throughout Monmouth County to accept contributions from county vendors that could not contribute directly to the county organization under newly passed pay-to-play restrictions. Such PAC's may be legal, but campaign finance experts suggest some technical problems with Niemann's PAC's, including the use of the same Treasurer that Niemann already uses for his Chairman's PAC. The Treasurer is an accountant at Holman & Frenia -- which operates out of the same Toms River office building as Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore's law firm.

The same day Niemann denied knowledge of the PAC's, sources say he strongly supported in an address to the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club -- comparing GOP County Committee members who have questioned his stewardship to al-Qaida when interviewed by the press. This has resulted in public calls for his resignation by several local party chairs and elected officials.

So Far, two challengers have emerged to challenge Niemann when he seeks re-election to a second term as Chairman in June: former Freeholder Edward Stominski, who was dumped by party leaders when he sought re-election in 2004, and Mel Hood, an African American activist from Neptune. Sources say that other candidates are waiting until after the April 8th convention, when the Monmouth GOP picks candidates to replace retiring Freeholder Theodore Narozanick, and possibly Surrogate Marie Muhler.

In the Freeholder race -- which has recently been overshadowed by Niemann’s headlines -- Ocean Township Deputy Mayor David Hiers has withdrawn and endorsed Howell Mayor Joseph DiBella. DiBella lost a February Special Election Convention to Anna Little to fill the Freeholder seat of Assemblywoman Amy Handlin. Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg, Holmdel Committeeman Terence Wall, Manalapan Committeeman Andrew Lucas and Asbury Park attorney Thomas DeSeno are also running.

Party insiders are expecting Muhler to retire, but she has still not made her intentions clear. Longtime Middletown Committeewoman (and former Mayor) Rosemarie Peters is already in the race, and Little Silver Councilman Rick DeNoia, who is close to Niemann, has begun to seek votes in the event that the incumbent backs out.

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DiBella's second loss

Political pundits in Central New Jersey rate 36-year-old Joseph DiBella as one of the rising stars of the Monmouth County Republican Party. But the race for Monmouth County Freeholder was DiBella's second loss in a Special Election Convention. One week after winning a seat on the Howell Township Council in November 2002, he ran for the State Assembly in a race to fill the seat of the late Melvin Cottrell. DiBella lost by 34 votes to Ronald Dancer, the Mayor of Plumsted. The 36-year-old DiBella is a Vice President in the Employee Benefits Division of Commerce Insurance Services. He began his political career in Middlesex County, where he won a seat on the Sayreville Board of Education at age 22, and later served as a Councilman before relocating to Howell in 1998. He ran for Mayor in 2003, when Democratic incumbent Timothy Konopka stepped down, and won 60% of the vote against DemocratSteven Farkas, another recent Howell resident who had previously run for the Legislature and Congress in Atlantic County.

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Monmouth GOP meets Saturday to elect a new Freeholder

Monmouth County Republicans are headed into Saturday's Special Election Convention with six candidates vying Amy Handlin's Freeholder seat. The conventional wisdom is that Howell Mayor Joseph DiBella is the front-runner, but Wall Republican Municipal Chairman Robert McKenna and Highlands Councilwoman Anna Little. Hazlet Committeewoman Bridget Antonucci and Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg have some pockets of County Committee votes,and attorney Thomas Seno is viewed as having a lock of last place. DiBella has won endorsements from State Senator Joseph Kyrillos and Freeholder Director Bill Barham; McKenna's key backer is Assemblyman Sean Kean, while Little has support from Freeholder Theodore Narozanick and former Freehodler Thomas Powers. The worst kept secret in the Monmouth GOP right now is that the Republican County Chairman, Frederick Niemann, is quietly backing DiBella. Republicans will have another fierce contest in about two months, if Narozanick and Surrogate Marie Muhler decide not to seek re-election, and a third in June -- two challengers have already entered the race to take on Niemann for County Chairman.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 30th

Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill TRENTON - The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats - some of them outraged...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).

- NJTV

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