After reporting earlier Monday that John Furey, the Democratic nominee for Toms River mayor, has dropped out of the race, Lakewood Alerts has learned that the top candidate to replace him on the ballot is John Crisafulli, the manager of First Commerce Bank’s Lakewood branch.
Crisafulli is a well-connected businessman with deep ties to Lakewood, including with numerous askanim, and has a long history of friendship with Orthodox Jews. He has been in attendance at numerous Orthodox Jewish functions, such as a Hachnosas Sefer Torah, and is very friendly with many in the Ocean County power structure.
According to sources familiar with the goings-on, Crisafulli is the top choice among Toms River Democrats to take on Republican nominee Dan Rodrick in the November general election. Many see his candidacy as the “antidote” to Rodrick, who has been accused of engaging in veiled anti-Semitism in his primary against incumbent Mo Hill, as well as in previous races.
Sources further tell Lakewood Alerts that Crisafulli has been meticulously picking up support for his planned run as the Democratic nominee, though it is “not 100% certain yet” that he will be picked by Democrats to replace the withdrawing Furey as their nominee.
If he is chosen as the replacement nominee, it would set up a fascinating race between Crisafulli and Rodrick, with the growth of Orthodox Jewry in Toms River certain to be a central theme in the campaign.