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.

Niemann’s got woes