Kean selected by GOP to fill Smith’s seat

By carolyn o

By carolyn o’connell
Staff Writer

Committee members turned out in force to support Sean Kean of Wall Township to replace Assemblyman Thomas A. Smith of Asbury Park who died Sept. 26 at age 84.

Kean, a 39-year-old attorney with Carton and Facone in Avon, received 113 votes out of 218 Republican district committee members who gathered at the Holiday Inn in Tinton Falls Saturday. The Republican Party is allowed to fill the seat vacated when Smith died because he was a member of the GOP.

Kean, who was supported by State Chairman Sens. Joseph Kyrillos and John O. Bennett III, was challenged by Long Branch Councilman Anthony Giordano III and Carl Williams, a former Asbury Park mayor.

William Boglio, a West Long Branch councilman who also was vying for the seat, stepped down from the race just two weeks prior.

Monmouth County Republican Chairman William F. Dowd noted that a full representation of the 11th District would be 266 committee members.

However, a candidate only needed 110 votes to be duly elected.

Giordano pulled 88 votes, and Williams received 11 votes.

"My winning has proved that negative campaigning does not work," said Kean.

Prior to winning the seat, Kean dispelled the idea that he ever lobbied for tobacco companies, pornography and violent video games.

"Such innuendoes are destructive to the Republican Party," said Kean.

He also denounced the allegation that he was not Republican enough. "Eight years ago I turned my back on the Democratic Party," said Kean. "I like the ideals and principles of the Republican Party."

Kean quoted former president Ronald Reagan who said, "Converters are often times the truest believers."

After being announced as the winner to succeed Smith, Kean told voters he is looking forward to serving the public, and thanked his supporters.

"The Republican Party is now united, and the process is over," said Kean. "My competitors are now on my side. Corodemus (Assemblyman Steven J. Corodemus) and I are friends, and we are going to have a great time."

Corodemus, as well as Dowd, had supported Giordano in his campaign for the seat.

"You always take a chance when supporting a candidate," said Dowd. "I am a leader and am entitled to make my opinion known. It was a contentious race, and it was a close race."

Giordano said that Kean’s victory is due to the strong support he received in Wall combined with his experience. "I guess the voters felt that because of his [Kean’s] experience in Trenton, he would hit the ground running," said Giordano.

Kean noted that Monmouth County depends on the environment to propel a strong economy.

As an assemblyman, Kean said he would fight to stop ocean dumping, and he would support clean rivers and oceans.

As a former lifeguard in Deal, Kean said his district depends on tourism to the Shore resorts and clean waters to bring recreational activities such as fishing, surfing and recreation.

He also plans to address land use, noting that there has been a tremendous surge in developing communities which has had a negative impact on the district by causing traffic congestion. Along with supporting responsible community growth, Kean said he will be active in supporting the redevelopment efforts in Long Branch and Asbury Park.

The first thing Kean plans to do is to facilitate the dedication of the office building on Bond Avenue in honor of Thomas Smith.

Kean is a member of the Wall Township Planning Board, president of the Wall Republican Club, and a former member of the Monmouth County Environmental Council.

He is also president of the 460-unit Allaire Country Club Estates Homeowners Association where he resides.