Continuing a longstanding trend, few Democrats are running in this year’s municipal races in Ocean County, with many towns seeing Republican incumbents run unopposed due to a lack of Democrat opposition. In some towns, independent candidates have attempted to fill the void.
Take a look at the general election candidates list recently published by the Ocean County Clerk’s Office, and it takes nothing more than a surface-level glance to see the lack of Democratic candidates on the ballot, which isn’t anything new.
Many races in Ocean County municipalities have seen no Democrats on the ballot, with “NO NOMINATION MADE” becoming a common appearance on sample ballots mailed to area voters.
The only towns where Democrats have full slates of candidates are Stafford, Barnegat, South Toms River, Waretown, Point Pleasant Boro and Beach, Lakewood & Little Egg Harbor.
In some towns, independent candidates have appeared on the ballot where no Democrats filed to run. In Tuckerton, where no Democrats filed to run, Skip Deckman and Paula Guzman Bell are running as independents. Bell is the spouse of Little Egg Harbor Committeeman Dave Schlick (D – Tuckerton), who himself is seeking reelection to the township committee along with a new running mate, Todd Nugent.
Other independents on the ballot include Lakewood’s Aaron Hirsch, who is running against both parties, along with Lavallette’s Matthew Schlosser.