The results are in! Local politics affects us all. For greater transparency in county politics, we will analyze New Jersey’s County System and score the functional groups of each county. Below, let’s review Monmouth County as of 2021:
Monmouth County is the second-largest county in the state of New Jersey, with a population of ~600,000.
Counties in New Jersey are governed by a so-called Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are either elected at-large for three-year terms of office on a staggered basis or by concurrent elections. The Board of Chosen Freeholders either has 3,5,7, or 9 members depending n the county. Each January, the freeholders select one of their members to serve as the board director for the year to preside over the board’s meetings and activities. County Freeholders have both administrative and policy-making powers. The freeholders oversee the five mandatory functions of the county government delegated to it by the state. Each freeholder is assigned responsibility for one of the five functional areas: Administration and Special Services; Public Works and Engineering; Human Services, Health, and Transportation; Finance and Administration of Justice, overseeing more than 70 county departments in total.
Monmouth County has a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders in which its members are subjected to three-year terms, and are elected on a staggered basis.
In Monmouth County, Administrator Teri O’Connor serves as the county’s chief executive officer and is responsible for carrying out the policies and directives established by the Board of Chosen Freeholders and managing the daily operations of the county’s more than 3,000 employees. This position is appointed by the Freeholder Director.
As of 2021, Monmouth County’s Freeholders are:
Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone (R, Neptune City)
Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley (R, Hazlet)
Ross F. Licitra (R, Marlboro Township)
Lillian G. Burry (R, Colts Neck Township)
Dominick DiRocco (R, Wall Township)
According to Article VII Section II of the New Jersey State Constitution, each county in New Jersey is required to have three elected administrative officials known as “constitutional officers.” These officers are the County Clerk and County Surrogate (both elected for five-year terms of office) and the County Sheriff (elected for a three-year term).
Monmouth county’s constitutional officers are:
County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon
Sheriff Shaun Golden
Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters
Christopher Gramiccioni of Wall Township is the county’s prosecutor, having been formally nominated to the position by Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie in May 2016. Gramiccioni had been serving on an acting basis for almost four years since being appointed to the post in July 2012 by Attorney General of New Jersey Jeffrey S. Chiesa.
Monmouth County constitutes Vicinage 9 of the New Jersey Superior Court and is seated at the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold Borough, with additional facilities in Freehold and Ocean Township; the Assignment Judge for Vicinage 9 is Lisa P. Thornton.
The 4th and 6th Congressional Districts cover the county. For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District is represented by Chris Smith (R, Hamilton Township). For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District is represented by Frank Pallone (D, Long Branch).
Political Preferences & Election Results
Monmouth County generally leans Republican in federal, state, and local races, though registered Democrats very narrowly outnumber registered Republicans. Al Gore in 2000 and Bill Clinton in 1996 are the only two Democratic presidential candidates to have won it since 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson won a national landslide and carried every county in New Jersey. All five county Freeholders, all three constitutional officers, and the majority of state legislators are Republicans.
As of October 1, 2020, there were a total of 482,595 registered voters in Monmouth County, of whom 139,874 (28.9%) were registered as Democrats, 137,292 (28.4%) were registered as Republicans, and 199,621 (41.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5,808 (1.2%) voters registered to other parties. Among the county’s 2010 Census population, 89% of residents of age 18 and over were registered to vote.
The control of the Board of Chosen Freeholders has changed hands multiple times but has been controlled by the Republican Party by a unanimous margin since 2010.
Here are the Presidential, Gubernatorial, and Senate election results for Monmouth County Since 2000:
2000 U.S. Presidential Election: Al Gore (50%-46%)
2000 U.S. Senatorial Election: Bob Franks (50%-48%)
2001 N.J. Gubernatorial Election: Jim McGreevey (50%-49%)
2002 U.S. Senatorial Election: Doug Forrester (50%-47%)
2004 U.S. Presidential Election: George W. Bush (54%-44%)
2005 N.J. Gubernatorial Election: Doug Forrester (52%-44%)
2006 U.S. Senatorial Election: Tom Kean Jr. (52%-44%)
2008 U.S. Presidential Election: John McCain (51%-48%)
2008 U.S. Senatorial Election: Dick Zimmer (R) (53%-47%)
2009 N.J. Gubernatorial Election: Chris Christie (R) (62%-31%)
2012 U.S. Presidential Election: Mitt Romney (51%-47%)
2012 U.S. Senatorial Election: Joe Kyrillos (54%-45%
2013 N.J. Gubernatorial Election: Chris Christie (R) (73%-26%)
2014 U.S. Senatorial Election: Jeffery Bell (R) (60%-40%)
2016 U.S. Presidential Election: Donald Trump (53%-44%)
2017 N.J. Gubernatorial Election: Kim Guadagno (R) (55%-43%)
2018 U.S. Senatorial Election: Bob Hugin (R) (53%-43%)
2020 U.S. Presidential Election: Donald Trump (51%-48%)
2020 U.S. Senatorial Election: Rikin ‘Rik’ Mehta(R) (52%-47%)
MONMOUTH COUNTY SCORECARD
1 -5 (poor, below average, average, above average, excellent)
Public Safety – average / below average (2.5)
Adequate funding (~$98,000,000 as per most recent data), but mostly focused on salaries on personel as opposed to police officer training.
SCHOOL SYSTEM – above average (4)
Well-funded relative to county population, sufficient focus on higher education, vocational schools, and cooperative educational resources. Some issues with
INFRASTRUCTURE & PUBLIC WORKS – below average (2)
Road neglect and minimal traffic management
“Beach Town” Reliance on Seasonal funding from beach tourism
TAX SYSTEM – below average (2)
High (vs state average?) %
Distributed in favor of School System & Law Enforcement, less priority on Infrastructure
COURT SYSTEM – average / above-average (3.5)
Experienced Judges & Attorneys
Efficient Administrative Staff / Paralegals
Family law and municipal cases are handled less effectively