2012-01-19 / Front Page
Holmdel’s DiMaso wins freeholder seat
Deputy mayor sworn in after two rounds of voting by county GOP
At a special Jan. 14 election at Colts Neck High School, the Monmouth County Republican Committee elected DiMaso to fill the term ofAssemblyman Robert Clifton (R-12th District), who resigned from the board before being sworn in to his new role earlier this month.
“It was quite a whirlwind. I’m very excited about being able to represent all of Monmouth County,” an emotional DiMaso said moments after Monmouth County Clerk M. Claire French swore her in to office in the high school auditorium.
She will serve the remaining two years of Clifton’s term.
Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11th District) nominated DiMaso for the board, citing her record of fiscal conservatism.
“Serena has guided Holmdel through critically difficult fiscal times, and today their budget is almost identical to what it was in 2007,” Beck said.
“She has sustained the challenge of bipartisan members [on the Township Committee] and been able to guide the party within her hometown through some difficult, divisive times.
“She is an extraordinarily hard worker, extremely disciplined, and she has a handle on the fiscal issues that face us all,” Beck continued.
Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter Doyle, Manalapan Committeeman Ryan Green and Howell Mayor Bob Walsh were also nominated.
Her appointment to the Board of Chosen Freeholders did not come without its fair share of tension.
After the ballots were totaled, DiMaso had received 243 votes, good for exactly 50 percent of the 486 votes cast but one vote short of a majority.
A runoff election was held between Di- Maso and Walsh, who received 149 votes, but the Howell mayor conceded before the second round of voting concluded.
DiMaso said she was “cautiously optimistic” about her chances going into the runoff election but remained focused on the positive aspects of the morning’s convention.
“To have 500 delegates here today, and even more that were not delegates, certainly says some wonderful things about the Republican Party,” she said.
“On a holiday weekend, [the election] was so important that they made sure they were here.”
As party members milled about the school, DiMaso’s peers expressed excitement at the former Holmdel mayor taking her experience to Freehold. “I’m happy that we have a candidate in Serena DiMaso, a magnificent public servant who has served the residents of Holmdel Township for many years,” Freeholder Director John Curley said.
“She is a fiscal conservative. She is someone who brings a broad breadth of public and private experience to the Board of Chosen Freeholders. I believe she is a pragmatist who will do very, very well for us.”
DiMaso also cited her fiscal conservatism as a trait that would mesh with the mindset of the rest of her new colleagues on the board.
“I think the biggest issue is always going to be taxes, and I have a good track record of holding the line on taxes,” she said.
“I hope to bring that same fiscal conservatism to the freeholder board.”
Monmouth County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Oxley said DiMaso’s experience through various fiscal issues in Holmdel stood out and will shine during her time on the freeholder board.
“Certainly, I’ve watched her career over the years and she’s very, very well suited. I think when you look around our 52 municipalities, Holmdel has done an extraordinary job over the years fighting for the taxpayers, doing more with less and wrestling with a lot of difficult issues,” Oxley said.
DiMaso had served on the Holmdel Township Committee for just over a decade. She was first sworn in at the township’s 2002 reorganization and was into her fourth consecutive three-year term on the committee at the time of her election as freeholder.
She served as the township’s mayor for five years, from 2006 through 2010. The committee will appoint a candidate to her vacant seat.
Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto admitted harboring mixed emotions about his deputy mayor’s resignation from the Township Committee.
“Because I’ve been working with her for so long, there’s going to be a void. On the other hand, it’s just so exciting for her. She’s been a stalwart of the Republican Party for many years, and they could not have chosen a better candidate,” Impreveduto said.