LONG BRANCH – After absorbing a Tuesday pounding from Mayor Adam Schneider, Councilman Brian Unger credited the 20-year incumbent with running a strategically sound campaign, and admitted to failures within his own operation.
“Long Branch is south of the Driscoll Bridge,” said Unger, who received 1,610 or 35.34 percent to Schneider’s 2,476 or 54.45 percent. “It is urban, but it’s south of the bridge. Adam put together a tremendous ticket that did very well. I made the classic error of using outside consultants, who alienated grassroots advisors. I’m afraid that happened. I did not run the grassroots campaign I would have wanted.”
In his campaign pieces, Schneider tagged Unger as “Lyin’ Brian,” arguing that his challenger was ill-suited to serve as mayor. Unger said his campaign never responded effectively.
Five days before Election Day, disgraced developer Solomon Dwek told a federal court that he had used middle men to give bribes to the mayor of Long Branch, a charge Schneider flatly denied.
Previously demoralized Unger allies rejoiced at the timing, and prepared to watch the mayor implode.
It never happened.
“With Adam it’s about character assassination,” Unger said tonight, moments before heading into a city council meeting. “He did it to Frank Pallone, John Pallone, and me. By the time we did respond to his attacks, we did it with the Dwek thing, and that probably didn’t help us. It insulted a lot of members of our Jewish community. It enabled him to go to them and cry wolf. They rallied around him. When they turned out, they did so for him.
“Hindsight is always 20-20,” the councilman added. “I would have run much more of a grassroots campaign. We didn’t do enough of that. I value the support of (Monmouth County Democratic Party Chair) Vic Scudiery. Our labor support was tremendous. There was no downside to any of that.I met a lot of great people. The African American community sees things the same way I do. They understand Adam’s machine for what it is. I was gratified to see people who felt that way.”