Little will skip Monmouth GOP convention

Republican Anna Little will not seek party support in her bid for re-election to the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, and could run against the organization in the June primary, or even as a Democrat, according to an e-mail to party leaders from GOP County Chairman Adam Puharic:

Tonight, I received word from the Asbury Park Press that Anna Little has decided not to seek our great Republican Party endorsement, and instead is considering to run off the line in a primary or has even hinted at switching parties. Switching parties? This is an outrage to every good Republican — over 550 of us who attended Lincoln Day last night — that she would betray our hard work, use the election victory we all worked towards together, and throw all of it away for her personal glory. As a result, I will honor her request and I remove her for consideration as a Freeholder candidate in 2007. Despite her attempts to undermine her running mates, Monmouth County Republicans like Claire French, Joe Kyrillos, Sean Kean, and Jennifer Beck will prevail in the fall. In her comments, she will claim that the candidate agreement our party asked candidates to sign is the sole reason she is leaving our party — but nothing could be further from the truth. She did not have to sign it, and I told her this. From the beginning, Anna Little and her supporters have attempted to divide our party by embarrassing fellow Republicans in the Asbury Park Press. Only Anna Little and the renegade candidate attempting to undermine Jennifer Beck’s run at Ellen Karcher have made an issue of the candidate selection process. For them, it was an excuse to embarrass our party, and to undermine our leadership. They have failed, and in their failure they are now joined as a campaign ticket against all Monmouth County Republicans. Truth be told, Anna Little was not living up to her promises when she ran for office. She has proven ineffective in reforming county government, and instead attacks her fellow Republican Freeholders. She has not lived up to her responsibility as a party leader. Instead of being an active part of the 2006 campaign, Anna’s supporters organized into a counter-organization known as “Anna’s Army.” They met independently of the true campaign, making decisions counter-productive to her great running mates Andrew Lucas and Rosemarie Peters. They made independent campaign expenditures without consulting their running mates. And last night, Anna’s supporters attempted a quiet boycott of Lincoln Day in a poor attempt at protest. Instead this backfired, with over 500 Republicans of good cheer replacing them without much effort. This party is moving on. We have moved past the angry scowls and negative spin of an agenda-driven cabal. On March 3, our screening committee will convene to select two Freeholder candidates among a qualified pool of four great Republicans, including Freeholder Robert Clifton, Ocean Twp. Councilman David Hiers, Marlboro Council President Jeff Kantor, and Spring Lake Councilman Brian Reilly. Freeholder Clifton has publicly supported this process, along with all of the Assembly and Senate candidates. They deserve our support and our unity. The voices of dissention have made their voices heard. It is time for the voices of party unity to speak. I am writing to ask for your support to work together, and stand strong in the face of shrill voices that would destroy our party. I need your help.

Litte’s letter to Republicans:

It is with heartfelt regret that I am writing to inform you that I will not be participating in Chairman Adam Puharic’s screening process and that I will not be seeking the regular Republican nomination for the office of Freeholder in the upcoming election. I deeply appreciate all the support that I have received from rank and file Republicans and County Committee members over the last year. You are an inspiring and dedicated group, and it has been my honor to work with you and to serve you as your Monmouth County Freeholder. I have recently come to a roadblock in dealing with the current leadership of the Monmouth County Republican Organization, and I have serious reservations about continuing to work under the conditions imposed by this regime. Contrary to Mr. Puharic’s comments in the press, I am not the only candidate who has objected to the screening process as designed by the Chairman. My problem with the process is not the background check that has garnered so much attention. I am willing to submit to a background check, if for no other reason than to prove I have nothing to hide. In fact, my modest but sufficient means reflect that of the average voter, and that should lead no one to question my honesty. Despite the Chairman’s statements in the press, he is requiring me to sign a contract that deprives me and you of some of our rights as United States citizens, and that could compromise my security and that of my family. Mr. Puharic has stated in the press that the background checks will be private and confidential. His contract states just the opposite and releases the Monmouth County Republican Organization from any liability for the misuse of my private information. As a wife and mother, and elected public servant, I can not sign that contract. As an attorney, I would advise any client not to sign that contract. Many of you are no doubt aware of the smear campaign that has been waged against me and my family since our victory on November 7, 2006. Since election night, I have made numerous attempts to communicate with Mr. Puharic to resolve our differences and to bring the Party together in preparation for another tough election this year. After being rebuffed by the Chairman numerous times, we finally met on February 6, 2007. Puharic, seated behind his desk with two muscle men standing on either side of him with arms folded, stared at me. Puharic then listed the reasons that he felt I should not run on the Republican ticket. He stated that the screening committee would make the decision because he was angry and didn’t trust himself to decide fairly. He stated that I should tell the press I would be signing the agreement, even if it were not the truth. The result of this meeting was that that the Chairman and I will not be able to resolve our differences. I find it troubling that after being appointed to the Freeholder position, fairly selected by the entire Monmouth County Committee, and after winning a difficult race in the November General Election, my viability as a candidate is being questioned. The selection process in the past was fair to the candidates and to the entire Monmouth County Committee at the general convention. I will continue to serve as a Monmouth County Freeholder for the remainder of this year, and I am in the process of evaluating other alternatives for my candidacy for re-election. I expect that many of you will not be happy with this turn of events, and neither am I. While I can appreciate that my leaving the Organization line will cost me the support of some of you, I expect and hope that many of you will want to continue to work with me for the betterment of Monmouth County government.

Little will skip Monmouth GOP convention