Primary day in non-Presidential election years is one usually absent of any real drama and such is the case today for the most part in Ocean County.

There are no primary challengers running against party choices for Assembly seats in the 9th and 10th district and the same for county elections for Sheriff and two spots on the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  However in two of the 33 municipalities in Ocean County there are primary challenges on the local level and a third has one as well. Well sort of.

The big one is in Toms River where two current councilmen and a former Ocean County Prosecutor are running against one another in the Republican primary for Mayor as incumbent Thomas Kelleher is not seeking re-election to a fourth term.

Councilmen Maurice “Mo” Hill and Dan Rodrick both sought the endorsement of the Toms River’s Regular Republican Organization which went to Joseph Coronato, who held the prosecutor’s post for 5 ½ years until last fall.

All three are now battling to challenge lawyer Jonathan Petro who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.  There are also three seats up for grabs on the Township Council with a total of 7 GOP candidates vying to be their party’s choice come November. This one will surely be closely watched today.

Ocean County primary ballot
Ocean County primary ballot (Ocean County)

There is also a hotly-contested race on the Republican side in Point Pleasant Beach where incumbent Mayor Stephen Reid is being challenged by Councilman Paul Kanitra.  This after a judge declared the local Republican Club’s endorsement of Reid in March null and void and ordered an open primary for Mayor as well as two Council seats.

So Reid is running with two incumbents against Kanitra and his two running mates with the winners to get the GOP nod in November.

The sample ballot in Beachwood shows no challenges. As a matter of fact Republican Mayor Ron Roma and councilmen Gerald LaCrosse and Edward Zakar don’t even have any Democratic opponents.

However local businessman Glenn Kelly is using social media to encourage a write-in campaign for Mayor on the Republican ballot even though he considers himself an independent.  While Kelly and his two running mates are soliciting support on the Republican side they are expected to file a petition today to get on the November ballot as Independents.

Polls are open from 6am to 8pm today throughout Ocean County.



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