Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick has clinched the Republican nomination for the November election, defeating incumbent Mayor Mo Hill and fending off fellow Hill Geri Ambrosio and Robert Bianchini.
Rodrick’s win is a massive blow to Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore, who pushed Geri Ambrosio to run, as well as to the Toms River Jewish Community Council, who declined to endorse Hill and quietly went with Ambrosio instead, only for her to split the vote and finish nearly 20 points behind the victor.
The primary contest was one of the most heated and divisive ones in all of New Jersey, with two of the candidates – Rodrick and Hill – condemned by Agudath Israel after the campaigns of both sent campaign mailers to homes across Toms River that many deemed anti-Semitic.
At the time, Rodrick said his mailers decrying “Lakewood-style overdevelopment” development in Toms River were not anti-Semitic, but rather an honest take on Lakewood’s overbuilding, regardless of its demographics.
“I’ve never said anything antisemitic,” Rodrick said. “What you have going on here is two candidates, Hill, and Ambrosio fighting over votes because their plans for Toms River are not the plans the residents of Toms River want to see. They are both politically funded by developers, engineers, architects, and builders who expect them to build more high-density multifamily units and to build them bigger and taller all over town. If they win this election, they will be expected to deliver whatever promises they made behind the scenes to these developers.”
Meanwhile, Hill responded to the allegations of anti-Semitism by insisting that he was attempting to straddle the line between addressing concerns – legitimate and otherwise – from non-Jewish Toms River residents while maintaining a positive posture toward Orthodox Jews.