By DON STINE
Former Neptune Mayor Thomas Catley and Ocena Grove attorney Donald Beekman on June 8 announced that they will not accept their recent write-in nominations to be placed on the ballot for two seats on the Neptune Township Committee.
The two men, who are the vice-chairman and chairman of the local Republican Party respectively, said they will, instead, support the “Coalition For Change in Neptune” ticket, which includes both a Republican and Democratic candidate.
Residents Dianna Harris, president of the Midtown Urban Renaissance Corporation (MURC) and a Democrat, and Kevin Sheehan, a former Republican candidate, have formed a coalition ticket seeking the two, four-year terms up for grabs on the township’s governing body. The election is Nov. 3.
Harris and Sheehan will run as independents in the election under the ”Coalition for Change in Neptune” ticket but will have the support of the local GOP party.
Catley said that he and Beekman had heard a rumor of a possible write-in campaign during the recent primary election to steal the GOP ballot positions and, in response, decided to launch their own write-in vote campaign to protect the party’s ballot line.
“The rumor never materialized but we have no intention of being placed on the ballot. We were concerned people were planning to steal the GOP line in an attempt to frustrate attempts of the local GOP committee and confuse voters in the fall,” Catley said.
Catley and Beekman each received 29 write-in votes, which is one more than the 28 needed to be placed on the ballot. Both men had until June 9 to either accept to decline their write-in nominations.
Catley said he believes the Coalition For Change in Neptune ticket offers real change for Neptune’s government.
“And change is well overdue. We feel the coalition ticket is the best one to support and we feel it is a winning ticket. We feel this is the better ticket in the race this year and we urge Republicans in Neptune to support the ticket,” he said.
Catley said it is also hoped that Democrats and Independents will also vote for the ticket and place representatives from both parties on the Township Committee.
The Township Committee is currently all Democratic and has been so since Catley left in 2008.
It will now be a four candidate race for the two, full terms on the Township Committee in the Nov. 3 general election.
Current Mayor Mary Beth Jahn did not received the endorsement from the local Democratic Party to be placed on the ballot and she did not submit a petition to be placed on the ballot. Instead incumbent Committeeman Michael Brantley and newcomer Nicholas Williams received the nod to be the Democratic Party’s two official candidates.
Brantley received 323 votes with Williams getting 302 votes in the recent primary.