NJ’s Monmouth County Democrats Have Lit On a Likely New Chairman

Outgoing Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal in Atlantic City in 2016. Gopal is resigning his chairmanship to pursue a State Senate run. JT Aregood for Observer

Following news that Vin Gopal, chairman of New Jersey’s Monmouth County Democratic organization, would be stepping down to pursue a State Senate campaign, a source with the Monmouth County Democrats says that leadership has already found a likely replacement. Though an election has not been scheduled, the source said by email that Party Treasurer David Brown is the frontunner to replace Gopal as the leader of the party in one of the most politically volatile areas of the state.

“Brown, a life-long Long Branch resident, has been Treasurer of the Monmouth County Democrats for four years,” the source wrote. “He is expected to have the support of Gopal, Monmouth resident and Gubernatorial Frontrunner Phil Murphy, Acting Chairwoman & Middletown Leader Mary Foster and U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, also of Long Branch.

“Gopal is expected to endorse and lobby aggressively for Brown in the upcoming weeks. If elected, Brown will be the first African-American Party Chairperson ever elected in Monmouth County. Gopal had stressed to party leadership in recent weeks that he does not want an elected official or an attorney who does public work to take over as party chair.”

Also speaking by email, Brown laid out his plans for the party going into 2017, a gubernatorial election year that will decide Republican governor Chris Christie’s successor and serve as first-term Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey of the 11th legislative district’s chance to prove their mettle in a higher-turnout year. Gopal’s efforts helped the two lawmakers unseat two Republican incumbents in 2015.

“2017 is a big year for us and ensuring a Democratic Governor is elected this November is a high priority and we will challenge the Republicans in all municipal, county, and legislative seats,” Brown wrote.

“My three main initiatives in 2017 would be the following: (1) increase the use of technology to communicate with all residents of Monmouth County, (2) hold Regional meetings with the executive board, municipal chairs, and elected democrats with rotating locations to make it easier for everyone to be involved in our decisions and actions as an organization, and (3) use my statewide network to effectively win elections for Democrats in our County.”

Gopal will be going up against Republican incumbent Jennifer Beck in November, and the two have been getting their digs in early.

NJ’s Monmouth County Democrats Have Lit On a Likely New Chairman