GOP sources in Monmouth County are complaining about party campaign tactics in the Monmouth County Freeholder race in which Democrat Amy Mallet of Fair Haven narrowly defeated Republican John Curley of Middletown.
One source cited two fundamental problems with the Republican campaign of Freeholder Director Lillian Burry (who won) and her unsuccessful running mate, Curley – neither of which involved the candidates.
Critics believe Curley should have won and could have with a more focused Republican strategy, and highlight real blunders they say undermined his chances.
First, fearful of upping her name ID, Republicans intentionally resisted attacking Mallet, the beneficiary with her running mate of $2 million in face time over the course of last year’s District 12 Assembly race.
Talking about her would be tantamount to animating what the GOP thought was a moribund candidacy.
Consequently, the GOP had no opposition research and no attack plan in this year’s county race – other than trusting that Mallet andMason would fizzle on their own in a Republican-leaning county.
A source cited the GOP’s underestimation of Mallet – including the campaign she waged last year and her status as a female candidate – as the key reason to Curley’s loss. Democrats ended up throwing $300,000 to Mallet and her unsuccessful running mate, retired Hazlet detective Glenn Mason.
The same source bewailed the absence of a coherent campaign structure in the freeholder race. There was no campaign manager for Burry-Curley, and no single, clear-voiced spokesman through whom all information flowed.
Public perception was that despite their comments to the contrary, Curley and Burry didn’t run a synchronized campaign.
In the face of those critics who questioned the GOP’s strategy for the freeholder contest, Monmouth County Republican Party Chairman Joe Oxley pointed to local successes – wins in Middletown, Wall and Matawan – and county victories in the presidential and senate contests.