A recent skirmish within a divided Ocean County Republican Organization has revealed new ties between democratic power brokers, and Bill Burns, the president of the Lavallette Republican Club. Insiders are wondering, did Burns intentionally promote a straw man Congressional candidate that would be easy for Andy Kim to defeat in November, and if so – what was his motivation?
Congressional District 3 is expected to be one of the most competitive races in the country this year. Encompassing parts of Ocean and Burlington County, in 2018 Democrat Andy Kim defeated Republican Tom MacArthur in one of the closest congressional races in the country.
Two candidates have been vying for the opportunity to run against Kim this year. Conservative David Richter, an entrepreneur who grew his father’s small business into a publically traded company with over 4000 employees – and Kate Gibbs, a Union Lobbyist with ties to Hilary Clinton.
Just a few days before the Ocean County GOP screening committee interviewed candidates, the Asbury Park Press released a story about Congressional hopeful Kate Gibbs. Apparently, Gibbs was arrested numerous times for both theft and drug possession. In addition, she was sued 9 times for not paying her bills.
Still, when it came time to pick who would get the coveted Ocean County Republican Parties endorsement, a screening committee picked by GOP Chairman Frank Holman gave the endorsement to union lobbyist Kate Gibbs.
In an unprecedented convention, the Ocean County Republican Committee voted to overturn the screening committee’s endorsement and gave the ocean county line to businessman David Richter. Richter, endorsed by Donald Trump – will now be on the ballot below the president during the primary in Ocean County.
Rumor has it that the Lavallette delegation was split, with Mayor Walter LaCicero and Councilman Robert Lamb backing Conservative David Richter, and Club President Bill Burns backing union lobbyist Kate Gibbs.
Like Kate Gibbs, the Lavallette Republican Club President also has strong ties to the Democratic Party. An Attorney – Burns was recently picked up by the Law Firm of Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks – a firm headed by Democratic power brokers John Paul Doyle and Steve Leone. Doyle was the Democratic Majority Leader in the State Assembly and a strong Andy Kim supporter. Leone, also a Kim Supported, has been the Toms River School Board Attorney since being appointed by the democratic majority in 2013. Leone has held fund raisers for Democratic Congressman Andy Kim, and he’s one of the top donors to democratic political campaigns in Ocean County.
With multiple arrests and 9 lawsuits, insiders are questioning Burns unconditional support of Gibbs. Was it Ms. Gibb’s charisma and political acumen – or was Burns just propping up a strawman candidate for his democrat bosses; one that would be easily defeated by Andy Kim in November?
Readers are going to have to decide that for themselves, but one thing is for sure – the political fallout in Lavallette won’t end anytime soon. Since the Convention, Republican Councilwoman Joanne Filippone – an ally of club president Burns – has been telling fellow republicans that she’s supporting Andy Kim for Congress, a very unpopular position in a republican town.
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