by MAX PIZARRO
Jayson Adams of Pleasantville, who last week lost his re-election bid as president of the Pleasantville School Board, today canceled his run for Atlantic County Freeholder, and provided one more sign that the political machinery of former Atlantic City Council President Craig Callaway is grinding to a halt.
It also means Charles Garrett, backed by Assemblyman Jim Whelan's Democratic Reform Team, will run unopposed in the Democratic Primary.
The leadership of the Atlantic County Democratic Organization (ACDO) celebrated Adams' decision, as the candidate was an ally of Callaway’s and Callaway's brothers.
"I think it’s good news for those of us who are pulling for Charles Garrett," said Whelan, a former mayor of Atlantic City and longtime Callaway nemesis who is running for State Senate in district 2 against Republican Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough.
"In part because of his connection to Callway, I don’t think Mr. Adams belongs in public life, and I am glad the voters of Pleasantville agree," Whelan said Monday.
Adams is under investigation by the FBI in a case related to the Pleasantville School Board's awarding of school district contracts and an alleged conflict of interest.
Callaway is serving a 40-month jail term in federal prison on bribery charges. Additionally, last week the County Prosecutor's Office charged Callaway in connection with the alleged blackmail videotaping of Atlantic City Councilman Gene Robinson, who appeared to pay for oral sex, according to the Atlantic City Press.
"The Democratic Reform Team was going to win anyway," party spokesman Raiyan Syed said in the wake of the Adams announcement today. "We’re going to elect people to office who will fight corruption and stop out of control property taxes."
Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Ronald Ruff last June beat a Callaway-backed party leader to wrest control of the county organization, but the committee remains populated by Callaway supporters. Earlier this year, Ruff and Whelan stood against the committee’s recommendation to back Adams, and instead stood behind Garrett.
McCullough criticized the pair for bucking the will of the committee, as he saw it – and publicly criticized the State of New Jersey for appointing a monitor to oversee the Pleasantville School District.
"If Sonny McCullough wants to be friends with Jayson Adams, he’s welcome to him," Whelan said. "We're not interested in the Callaways ruinning the party becasue, quite frankly, they're thugs."
McCullough was unavailable for comment.