Strada says Kelaher is not running the show

Democratic Toms River Mayoral candidate Richard P. Strada said that his new Republican opponent, Tom Kelaher, is not controlling his own campaign.

Strada referenced a push poll on behalf of Kelaher’s campaign reported in the Ocean County Observer on Tuesday. The poll accuses Strada of supporting Islamic extremists because he hosted an interfaith summit that included Muslims in October, 2001.

Kelaher denied any knowledge of the poll when asked by the newspaper.

"Kelaher is either not in charge of his campaign or willfully complicit in this baseless character attack on me," said Strada. "If Tom Kelaher isn't in charge of his campaign, how can we expect him to be in charge of Toms River?" said Strada.

Kelaher, a former county prosecutor, was recently selected to replace former Toms River Council President Gregory P. McGuckin on the ballot after he dropped out of the race after it was revealed that he owed $120,000 in taxes. Also in the race is Republican town councilman Carmine Insteso, Jr., who’s running as an independent.

Kelaher could not immediately be reached for comment. Strada says Kelaher is not running the show