For some strange reason the Monmouth County Democratic Organization took control of the candidates petitions for Mayor and County Committee for the Borough of Highlands. They dropped the ball big time.
In my capacity of municipal chairman of the Highlands GOP I was reviewing the Republican petitions with Borough Clerk Carolyn Cummins at 3:45 this afternoon when a call came into Borough Hall from the Board of Elections. It was Bertha Sumick informing Cummins that someone from the Democratic Party was just leaving Freehold with the Highlands petitions. Cummins and I where both puzzled as to why one of the local Democrats would attempt to file their petitions in Freehold, especially since the petitions are clearly marked "To the Municipal Clerk of ____________."
I told Cummins I would object to Democratic petitions being filed after the statutory deadline of 4pm and she smartly placed a call to the Borough Attorney Scott Arnette, a Democratic appointee. Arnette was not immediately available. I called a Republican attorney for advise.
Imagine my surprise at 4:15 when Mike Mangan walks in with the petitions! Mike Mangan, the Democratic spokesperson for Frank Pallone who got Diane Gooch all upset. Mike Mangan, the Democratic operative who was reporting to then state Democratic Chairman Joe Cryan during the 2008 Monmouth County Freeholder race recount. Mike Mangan, who on behalf of Cryan was soliciting resumes from throughout the state for high paying Monmouth County staff positions after the Democrats won control of the county after the 2008 recount. Mike Mangan who used to be a full time employee of the Monmouth Democratic Party and served on its Board of Directors from 2006-2009.
Why was Mangan handling the local Highlands Democrats petitions?! This was no screw up by a neophyte who didn't know better. Mike Mangan is a paid professional!
When Mangan arrived he heard me place a call to my Republican attorney friend who's name Mangan is familiar with. When I got off the call I asked Mike, "why didn't you just have the locals hand them in?" "I'm not talking to you now," was his response, with the inference being now that he knows I am consulting with an attorney.
Arnette finally called Cummins back and advised her not to accept the petitions. Being the outstanding Borough Clerk that she is, she followed his advice.
Highlands Democratic Councilman Chris Francy, the announced candidate for Mayor, would not explain to me why Mangan was handling his petitions.
Who knows how this will all turn out. The Democrats can take the Borough to court to plead that their petitions should be accepted or Francy and his committee candidates can mount a write-in campaign. Either way, I imagine we'll have Democratic opposition in Highlands come November. We'll also have some fun in the meantime.
It's nice to know that Mangan knows his way to Highlands and can even get here from Freehold in half an hour. Next time he visits I hope he stops in on one of our fine restaurants or other businesses.