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McGuckin Challenger Barrella Criticizes Pay to Play Contracts

TOMS RIVER-There will be a three-way race in the shore’s LD-10 New Jersey Assembly race and one candidate has come out of the gate shooting.

Former Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella is running as an independent and made it very clear the day after the Republican primary who his opponent is.   Although he’s running against both Republicans John Catalano and Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin, Barella focused fire on McGuckin this week.

“Unlike the incumbent Assembly Republican, who has used his position to further his law practice, Mayor Barrella did not seek to benefit personally from his time in office and will not to do so if elected to the Assembly,” Barrella said in a press release.

Barrella took a shot of McGuckin’s large pay-to-play workload that has been a result of his involvement in politics.

According to the New Jersey State Pay to Play Database, McGuckin’s law firm takes in over $1.5 million annually in public contracts.  McGuckin receives those contracts in return for campaign contributions in several Ocean County towns, including Barnegat, Berkeley, Harvey Cedars, Island Heights, Jackson Township, Lacey, Lakewood, Ocean County, Plumsted, Point Pleasant, Point Pleasant Beach, Ship Bottom, Stafford, Surf City, Toms River, Beachwood, South Toms River and Forked River.

In return for campaign donations that range from $500 to $4,000 or more made directly to candidates and political action committees, local politicians who benefitted from the donations hire McGuckin’s law firm to represent their towns.

“I’m running for Assembly because I believe the people of Ocean County and the 10th Legislative District want and deserve someone in Trenton who will put the people’s interests ahead of their own and the interests of a political party,” Barrella said.

In his press release, Barrella told a story of how he drove his last car pretty much into the ground.

“He often jokes that as New Jersey politicians go he is quite the failure, having entered office in 2008 driving a used Chevy Malibu and continuing to drive that same vehicle into 2015, his last year in office, until it finally gave out with more than 199,000 miles on it,” the release said.

In 2010, Barrella fought to keep prayer in township meetings after a judge ruled against it, ending a 60-year tradition in the borough.

While Barrella most definitely doesn’t represent the MAGA choice many shore conservatives would have hoped for, in fact, he leans somewhat progressive, he offers another flavor of politician for 10th district voters in November.

The chart below is provided by the State of New Jersey, detailing the law firm’s annual income through public tax money. Source NJ ELEC/Pay to Play Database.

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