BRICK – Democrat councilman James Fozman broke with his party to endorse GOP senate candidate Bob Hugin over incumbent Bob Menendez this week, according to media reports.
In a split with his party that will be sure to rile the Brick Township Democratic party brass, Councilman James Fozman (D? – Brick) has publicly endorsed the Republican opponent of incumbent Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, whose public image has been tarnished in recent months by a federal corruption prosecution.
“Bob Hugin is our opportunity to secure new, honest representation in Washington for all New Jerseyans,” Fozman said in his endorsement of Hugin.
The Democratic councilman praised the Republican senate candidate’s business record and past service in the armed forces, while contrasting Hugin against Menendez’s recent alleged ethical & political failings.
Bob is a refreshingly honest and open alternative to disgraced, career politicians like Bob Menendez, who has done little in his 25 years in Washington for New Jerseyans while he enriched himself and embarrassed our state.Brick Councilman James Fozman
The Brick councilman’s dissent should come as no surprise to those who have followed the back-and-forth of Brick politics, which buck the trend of Ocean County because the township is the only of 33 municipalities that is ruled by single party Democrat control on the township governing body and school board rather than the county’s dominant Republican party which remains dominant elsewhere.
While the Democrats have maintained their grasp on Brick Township, and Councilman Fozman himself was a part of the slate of council candidates that originally turned the township into the county’s sole stronghold of Democratic political power, the Fozmans have been on the outs with the Democratic establishment in Brick Township and Ocean County.
In 2017 they were among the most vocal supporters of then-Democrat gubernatorial hopeful John Wisniewski, with the councilman’s wife taking a role with the campaign. Contrarily, the county party was quick to fall in line behind Phil Murphy.
Most recently, Mr. Fozman unsuccessfully challenged Mayor John Ducey for the Democratic chairmanship in Brick, with the result being an “ugly” intra-party political feud that ultimately saw Ducey prevail over Fozman.
After losing out the chairmanship to Ducey, it’s likely that Ducey and his campaign manager / fixer Mitch Seim will seek to clip Fozman’s wings for failing to fall in line with the party establishment. The councilman’s public display of support for a Republican candidate will probably not be taken well by party leadership, as Democrats quickly moved to purge Republicans from local boards since they took control of the levers of government in Brick Township.
The question now becomes: will Councilman Fozman follow in the footsteps of Toms River’s Dan Rodrick and switch parties? Rodrick, like Fozman also lost out on his club’s municipal chairmanship before deciding to walk away. Why are Ocean County Democrats hemorrhaging members?