TOMS RIVER – Despite some public arguments with Republicans on the Township Council, Councilman Daniel Rodrick announced that he is leaving the Democrats and changing his party affiliation to Republican.
Rodrick, in a prepared statement during a Township Council meeting, explained that he had been a registered Republican for more than 20 years prior to running for office as a Democrat. He won a spot on the council during the 2017 election. He represents Ward 2.
“When I see the Trenton Democrats drastically reducing school aid to suburban communities like Toms River, while simultaneously calling for tax increases on the middle class…when I look on the national level, and see the liberal wing of the Democratic party calling for the elimination of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the party as a whole fighting tougher border security tooth and nail, it’s become more and more apparent that the Democratic party is out of touch with middle class workers and taxpayers,” he said. “I can no longer associate myself with the Democratic party.”
He made the statement during the part of the meeting where council members can make any kind of statement they want. He underscored that he will continue to fight overdevelopment, which was a large part of the platform that Democrats ran on in 2017.
“I have always considered myself a conservative,” he said.
After the meeting, he said that regardless of party affiliation, he will still vote his conscience. It did not matter what group he gets along with, as long as he’s doing what is right for people.
Ben Giovine, chairman of the town’s Democrats, issued a statement after learning that Rodrick switched parties.
“I’m not surprised. The Republican party in Ocean has lots of money in their campaign coffers and plenty of patronage jobs to hand out. Dan is out for Dan – the Republican party may be a good fit for him, but it’s certainly the wrong fit for voters who rejected Republican patronage last November. While Dan plays politics, (Democrat Council members Terrence) Turnback and (Laurie) Huryk will concentrate on good government and continue to move Toms River in the right direction.”
In June, an online publication announced that Rodrick lost an election to be chair of the local Democrats to Giovine.
In 2017, the governing body was all Republican. Three Democrats won the election, but they were still outnumbered 4-3. Now, that figure will be 5-2. Next year, there is an election for the mayor and three council members.