A new year means new opportunities for those who engage in the open warfare of partisan and non-partisan politics in Ocean County. Here’s our 2020 political predictions in Ocean County.
Andy Kim – 3rd Congressional District – Everyone’s favorite left-wing radical is up for re-election. Let’s face it, Andy Kim should not have won in 2018 and he should not win in 2020, but for the same reasons he won in 2018, he WILL win in 2020. That’s because there’s turmoil and in-fighting in the GOP that doesn’t look like it’s going to shake out anytime soon and Chairman Kim will keep raising more money waiting for something to spend it on. While Republicans are fighting each other, Kim will continue to kiss babies, hug veterans and take credit for President Donald Trump’s economic prosperity. Kim will also ride the coattails of people like Tom MacArthur and Chris Smith who put decades of blood, sweat and tears behind the newfound success of Joint Base MDL. While Kim keeps bolstering his public image, Republicans will endure a grueling primary that will further split an already split party.
Ocean County GOP “Chairman” Frank Holman has already made it clear he wants to see a man from his own stable put his hat in the ring before endorsing a young millennial woman, Kate Gibbs. A third candidate to challenge Holman’s position will appear in time to throw everything in complete disarray and Kim will have to endure a grueling…five or six months with a boatload of cash on hand before Republicans can even figure out which end of their candidate is up.
Mo Hill – Toms River – Mo Hill, the conquering hero of the Ocean County GOP who won his mayoral election by a huge margin of 200 and some votes now has an uphill battle to prove that he’s not the guy his opponents said he was. Except for one thing, Mo has campaign promises to deliver or forget and his every move will be under the spotlight. Hill will renegotiate the 10-acre zoning ordinance and blame either Democrats or the federal government for his compromise. Mo could use his political prowess to navigate these trouble waters ahead, but he’s shown us all he doesn’t have any political prowess, so he will most likely fumble through the front line with his hand out like the Heisman trophy as he pushes his way through his lifetime guaranteed position as mayor of Toms River. Hill has no worries, because he won’t lose another election going forward and you’re stuck with him until he dies or get so old that he can’t speak coherent sentences and his party finally convinces his family that it’s in his best interest to stop running for office when he’s in his mid 80’s.
Carmen Amato – Berkeley – Carmen Amato is the true Republican hero of Ocean County in 2020. He destroyed his Democrat opponents with a 4-1 voting margin in 2019 and will not only continue being the top mayor in the county, but despite sanctions placed on his club by Chairman Holman and his Nasty Dasti gang, Amato will emerge as one of the true leaders of the Ocean County Republican Party despite having an ineffective absentee chairman at the helm of the ship. In the 2021 election to remove Holman, Amato could be a key player in deciding which direction the party votes in the middle and southern part of the county go. In any case, Amato will continue being a strong mayor that represents the people of his town without the need to make sacrifices to the chairman or other party leaders.
Jackson Republican Club – This club is on life support and ready to die. We predicted the resignation of Rob Nixon and we’ll double down and predict the near future resignation of Barry Calogero. The club in Jackson has made huge errors in how it is handling the integration of the Orthodox Jewish community and while those mistakes may win political points on the homefront, the pressure for Calogero who is a federal employee suffering from Parkinson’s disease will eventually be too much to bear and he’ll be the next one to follow Nixon out the door. How the party rebounds from the loss of Nixon and Calogero will have a large impact on the future of the ever-shrinking party run by Holman galpal Clara Glory. The party has been plagued with resignations due to everything from child pornography charges, pointing loaded guns at police, death threats against Senator Robert Singer and yes, even anti-Semitic claims against them which have evolved into two (soon to be three) federal civil rights cases. At some point party members need to realize the club needs a good enema or just a pull of the plug.
John Ducey – Brick – Mayor John Ducey is every Ocean County Republican’s favorite Democrat and it shows in the polls where he wins by large margins in his Republican leaning town. Ducey has done everything by the book since he entered office two terms ago. He’s up for re-election in 2021, but 2020 will be the year Ducey will further solidify his commitment to Brick Township and he has a wave of red blood to ride after his council team slayed the Republican ticket this past November. The Republican Party in Brick has some time to figure out to do the “hearts and minds” thing, but if past history is to be used as an example, Ducey doesn’t have much to worry about…especially when Brick Republican’s saviors in the past 2 years have been a Bernie Democrat turned Republican and a creepy softcore porn star for school board.
Chris Smith – Chris Smith is the man. Jim Keady will try to topple him again, but Jim Keady needs to “Sit down and shut up”. Unfortunately for Keady, he could have a great chance in some other districts, but Smith is now the lone rock of the New Jersey GOP at the federal level and the cornerstone of the 2020 Congressional take back expected by Republicans in many of our districts. Smith will win his campaign in solid fashion.
Joe Vicari – If he’s not politically assassinated by his own party between now and election, voter favorite Freeholder Joseph Vicari has nothing to worry about, not even underhandedness at the hands of the Holman hit squad…he’s much bigger than they are and they know it. As Vicari once told us…”Nobody in this room has the b88ls to go against me.” and let’s hope he’s right, because the people of Ocean County are quite fond of Vicari, he’s almost like that fun uncle we all have that forgets your name and confuses you with another cousin half of the time at family gatherings.
Jeff Van Drew – Republicans urge Democrats to #walkway…unless of course you’re a very well like, highly influential Democrat who is a threat to your own position in the Republican Party. Van Drew will dispatch his naysayers and his opponents. Sure, he’s not the ideal conservative we all want, but he’s a guaranteed red seat in Congress in 2020. He has the endorsement of President Donald J. Trump and if his Republican opponents are smart, they would also #walkaway and support Trump’s candidate. They can cry all they want that Van Drew has gone against Trump’s agenda while in Congress, but they fail to see that right now they are going against Trump’s agenda themselves.
Toms River GOP – Toms River GOP is also at war with itself and after Mo Hill cleans out the dissenters and they disappear into obscurity in their public job he firmly secures for them or their family, things will settle down…that is until the shitstorm reappears in 2021 and the party begins eating each other’s babies again. The party just barely scraped by a very weak Democrat ticket in 2019 and without new blood in the party or support for unorthodox populist candidates like Dan Rodrick, if the Dems can pull a decent ticket out of their rears in 2020, the club and Mayor Hill could be a lame duck in 2021-2022.
Jackson Council Election – Jackson is the only show in town and both sides will be dumping all of their resources in Jackson to protect all the new jobs for those such as Greg McGuckin and our own partner Frank Sadeghi here in town. Sadeghi could be once again at odds with his own newspaper here at Shore News Network as we sit back and watch the fire burn, occasionally pouring gas on the blaze. How Jackson responds to their national GOP condemnation could mean their success or their end, because Democrats are waiting in the wings with their own piles of cash to capitalize on the self-inflicted death and destruction coming out of Jackson these days.
Virginia Haines – Haines rose to power, pulling herself from the cocktail lounge to the board room with some help from her friends, but will continue to be the matriarch of the Ocean County GOP until her cold fingers are removed from the dais. Haines has lost sight of who she is and where she came from… even how she got to where she is. For her sake, she better hope former Chairman Gilmore goes to jail, because if he doesn’t…we wouldn’t want to be sitting in her chair when that time comes. Until that time comes, she continues to rule the roost with the force of a Central American dictator who is smart enough to wave and smile for the cameras…once she’s finished wiping the blood off her frail hands.
Daniel Leonard – If Joe Vicari is that awesome fun uncle who sometimes shows up with his shoes on the wrong feet, Daniel Leonard is that crazy uncle we all have that’s always two seconds from blowing off a finger or losing an eye in some crazy stunt that is preceded by the words, “Don’t worry, this is going to work out!” Dan had a tumultuous time on the Toms River Board of Education and was a thorn in everyone’s side. Bad news for everyone. He’s no longer on the board of education and has no reason to pretend he needs to walk on eggshells anymore. It’s going to be interesting to see what Leonard has up his sleeves as he makes most borderline corrupt politicos cringe in fear, checking on what he’s doing daily to make sure they aren’t part of it. Leonard will not disappoint regardless of what he does, but the goal for him will to channel his creativity into something tangible and successful in 2020.
Residents with ambition and a dream – They will realize there’s no room for good people in politics and either vanish quickly or die trying to change all of our minds.
And there you have it, that’s the 2020 Shore News Network political crystal ball.