Citing “trouble brewing in and around town hall,” Libertarian Michael Roche has entered the race for township committee in Waretown.
This year’s municipal election in Ocean Township (Waretown) was set to be your typical display in Ocean County: another Republican running unopposed, as the Ocean County Democratic organization has failed to recruit full slates of municipal candidates in a majority of the county’s towns.
That was until Mr. Roche decided to throw his hat in the ring. As it stands now, he’s the only declared opposition to GOP nominee Dr. Benjamin LoParo, an area chiropractor. No Democratic candidates have submitted petitions to be on the ballot in time for the June 7th primary election. Incumbent mayor Dennis Tredy chose not to run in the primary, leaving LoParo as the nominee. Both declared candidates seeking Mayor Tredy’s seat are political newcomers, with neither having held elected office in the past.
In what GOP sources called the beginning of the end for the “Tredy-Wetter era,” incumbent Tredy did not win the Ocean Township Republican Club’s endorsement vote held in March, the first time in recent history for such an upset to occur. The southern Ocean County town’s 3 member township committee is currently (and has been) Republican 3 – 0.
Mr. Roche, who is employed as a realtor in the Lacey Township office of Weichert Realtors is an 8 year Waretown resident, and says he is running due to his concern about how the Republican administration has handled things, such as the recent lawsuit filed on behalf of five township police officers – which accused GOP elected officials of improperly meddling in the police department – as well as forcing through a nepotism hire, or two.
Criticizes Status Quo, Promises Greater Transparency
“There has been trouble brewing in and around town hall,” Roche said in his announcement. “There are a lot of businesses that have come and gone along Route 9, leaving a number of commercial spaces vacant and/or decaying. The leadership seems content to simply pass the torch on to the next member of the club and continue the status quo. It is time for a change. I am seeking a seat on the township committee to address those issues as well as to protect and enhance the livability of our community. I will advocate tirelessly for a more business friendly climate, a smaller government, lower taxes, and more transparency in town hall.”
The candidate’s platform includes support for “…limited government, individual liberty, and increased personal, political freedoms as well as a return to Constitutional governance.”
“Government left unchecked will continue to attempt to justify its’ own existence by injecting itself in to issues it was never meant to be involved in,” he wrote in a campaign statement.
Will Libertarian Roche Do What Democrats Couldn’t?
Last year, in nearby Barnegat, independent candidates Bill Cox and Denise Pilovsky had a respectable showing in the polls compared to previous independent and third party challengers, coming within striking distance of Republicans Frank Caputo & party flipper Susan McCabe, who was elected as a Democrat, but after getting a job at Ocean County College as an adjunct professor changed her party registration to Republican. The narrow victory led many to question whether the Republican Party was losing its hold on Barnegat.
With an anti-establishment vibe in the air this year coupled with members of both the Democratic and Republican parties upset with party bosses, can the Libertarians do what the Democrats have been unable to accomplish in terms of setting up a reliable opposition to one party rule in Ocean County? Waretown voters will answer that question in November, as Roche collects signatures to appear on the general election ballot.