TOMS RIVER – Ten candidates were considered to fill Freeholder John Bartlett’s spot with running mate Gerry P. Little in the November elections.
The Republican screening committee, which met Tuesday night to vet each candidate, decided on Lacey Committeeman Gary Quinn to take Bartlett’s place on ballot. The Republican Committee met at Days Inn in Toms River Wednesday to approve a candidate.
The other candidates included: Jackson Councilman Rob Nixon, attorney Sean Gertner, Plumsted Mayor Jack Trotta, Pine Beach Mayor Lawrence Cuneo, South Toms River Mayor Oscar L. Cradle, Barnegat Councilman John Novak, Toms River’s Gus Kakavas, Berkeley Councilman James Byrnes, and the only woman, Stafford Councilwoman Sharon McKenna.
“Nobody can replace John Bartlett,” Byrnes said. “…But when I leave here tonight, I’m going to be a Gary Quinn guy.”
“I was on the screening committee and it was a very difficult decision,” Freeholder Ginny Haines said before making the nomination for Quinn. “Gary is going to be a team player and work with all the rest of us on the board…We always want to do what’s best for Ocean County.”
“John is not just the longest serving freeholder in New Jersey, but the longest serving friend,” Little said before introducing Quinn.
He’s a local developer, owner and president of Eastport Builders Inc. of Lacey. He and his wife have been married for 39 years. They have a son and daughter. He is currently the senior member of the Lacey Township Committee. He had been appointed to the Pinelands Commission by Gov. Chris Christie.
“John has been a tremendous, tremendous freeholder. He’s had such an impact on anything and everything that’s happened in this county the last 39 years,” Quinn said. “…They are very large shoes to fill. I promise I will do my best to continue John’s work.”
Bartlett announced last week he was stepping away from the campaign and will let his term expire at the end of this year. Health issues forced his decision to quit the race. He’s the longest serving Freeholder in the state, serving 39 years.