Democrats on two sides of a Monmouth County civil war continue to make phone calls and firm up support to succeed Monmouth County Democratic Party Chairman Vic Scudiery, who’s retirng in June of next year.
On one side stands Vin Gopal, finance chair of the county party organization and an LD 11 campaign casualty in November’s general election.
On the other stands Frank J. LaRocca, law partner and ally of Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik, who crushed his Republican opponent in November to give Monmouth Dems one of their few feel-good stories of the cycle.
As they probe county committee people, Hornik and LaRocca make the argument to beleagured party members that essentially they want to take to the county what they have done in Marlboro over the course of three cycles, which is to have won eight of the nine seats in a Republican county.
Sources say they’re presenting LaRocca as an established 47-year-old law firm partner in contrast to the fledgling 26-year-old businessman Gopal.
For their part, Gopal’s allies say they have simply done more legwork countywide, more party and relationship building than the Marlboro-centric Hornik.
If both sides are convinced they can secure support, they won’t face off until June of next year, but sources close to Gopal say they’re confident their candidate can smother LaRocca early and defuse him. The Hornik people say the fact that the process is “long” will work to their advantage as they make their case, and are confident the support Gopal believes he can land now will crumble under more hard-nosed backroom negotiating in time for June.