We endorse the two Republican candidates for the two three-year seats — incumbent Gerry Little, who is seeking his sixth three-year term, and Lacey Township Committeeman Gary Quinn, who is seeking his first term on the board.
Over the years, many of our Ocean County freeholder endorsements have spoken about the importance of having at least one representative from each of the two major parties sitting on the board to serve as a check on the other party.
This year won’t be one of those years. Not only will we not be endorsing a Democrat this year, even the dysfunctional county Democratic Party isn’t backing one of the two Democratic candidates who will be appearing on the ballot — Teddy Price of Toms River. Vince Minichino of Brick also is running as a Democrat.
Both were invited to meet with our editorial board so we could learn more about their backgrounds and experience. Price couldn’t be reached despite numerous attempts. And Minichino, an attorney, said he had a scheduling conflict. Perhaps most telling, the county Democratic Party website’s “Find Your Candidate” section failed to list either of the two freeholder candidates.
Ocean County Democrats announced in September that the Toms River Democratic Club had voted unanimously to expel Price — its former president — from the organization and had formed an ethics committee to investigate a report of missing money from the local club’s treasury. Price said the decision to expel him came in response to his decision to support Republican Bob Hugin for the Senate seat now held by Bob Menendez.
For the first time as a freeholder candidate, Little will be running without Freeholder John C. Bartlett on his ticket. Bartlett, the longest-serving freeholder in the state, announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking election to his 14th three-year term to focus on his battle with cancer.
Little served on the Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners and Surf City Council before joining the freeholder board. He worked as chief of staff for the state’s 9th Legislative District for 20 years before retiring in 2003.
His priorities are fiscal responsibility, continuing to permanently preserve open space, providing quality services for seniors and veterans and funding improvements to county roads and bridges.
Quinn, who was unanimously chosen from among 10 candidates by the Republican County Committee to fill Bartlett’s seat, has served on the Lacey Township Committee for 14 years. Quinn, former owner of Eastport Builders, a Lacey-based home construction business, also previously served for five years on the Lacey Township Board of Education.
His priorities, similar to Little’s, are keeping county taxes low, preserving open space and maintaining good services for seniors and veterans.