LITTLE EGG HARBOR – Mayor Eugene “Gene” Kobryn, a longtime incumbent Republican elected official has switched parties, and will run for reelection in November as a Democrat, making his exit from the GOP complete, and following in the footsteps of other Republican officials in breaking rank from the Ocean County GOP establishment.
The rift between Mayor Gene Kobryn and his fellow Republicans began to grow wider earlier this year, when a faction of the township’s Republican organization lead by Club president and LEHT Committeeman Ray Gormley was successful in revoking Mayor Kobryn’s Republican Club membership.
Losing his Republican club membership has not stopped the mayor from seeking reelection, and the Great Bay Democratic Club officially replaced their original candidate, Mark Hansen, who ran unopposed in the June primary election, with Kobryn.
Now, on Saturday, Mayor Kobryn’s Democratic campaign manager Peter Ferwerda said that Kobryn, an incumbent Republican, will be on the ballot this year as this year’s Democratic nominee.
“Gene Kobryn accepted the invitation of the Great Bay Democratic Club’s nomination to run as its replacement candidate for the position of Township Committee Person representing the citizens of Little Egg Harbor,” Ferwerda said in a statement.
In his announcement, Kobryn declared himself as being an “issues and people oriented candidate,” and said that his campaign will focus on a platform based on the following issues, according to a Saturday campaign press release:
- “Stabilize our high real estate tax rate”
- “Fixing our destroyed neighborhoods due to Storm Sandy,”
- “Improve operational effectives of our municipal services by repairing them,”
- “Focus and improve sound policies and practices to improve our quality of life.”
In the wake of the mayor’s removal from the Republican club, committee meetings have continued to be raucous affairs over at the township’s Radio Road municipal complex, as the same two committeeman that have been at odds with Kobryn conspired to remove LEHT Township Administrator Garrett Loesch along with Police Chief Richard Buzby, a move that Kobryn found himself in opposition to.
In Kobryn’s place, former LEHT committeewoman Barbara “Bobbi Jo” Crea has been chosen to run on the Republican ticket.