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Ocean County Superior Court Judge Craig Wellerson today tossed out a lawsuit which sought to ensure that one candidate was near certain to win a seat on the Toms River Council, FAA News has learned.

Earlier this year, Toms River Councilman Dan Rodrick was elected to the mayoral position. At that point a vacancy was created in his Ward 2 council seat which does not expire until 2025.

The Council has selected George Lobman to fill the vacancy for the remainder of 2024.

An election will be held later this year to fill the vacancy for 2025. The primary elections will be held on Tuesday, June 4. The general elections will be held in November.

Kevin Geoghegan and William Byrne have filed petitions to run in the Republican primary election.

Susan Gato Payne is the sole candidate who filed a petition to run in the Democrat primary election.

Byrne is Rodrick's handpicked candidate. On the other hand, Geoghegan is aligned with ousted Mayor Maurice Hill. Geoghegan previously served on the council in an at-large seat from 2020 through last year when he was defeated in the Republican primary along with his running mates and then-Mayor Maurice Hill.

Essentially, the upcoming Republican primary election is gearing up to be a race between a Rodrick supporter - who would support Rodrick's current majority on the council - and a Hill supporter who would boost opposition against Rodrick.

This primary election is important as Toms River typically votes Republican in the general elections, therefore whichever candidate wins in the primary elections is likely to take victory in the general elections.

As first reported here on FAA News, things took a major twist as Geoghegan filed legal action alleging that Byrne's candidacy must be voided on several procedural grounds.

Obviously, if Geoghegan were to succeed in court, he would very likely be assured to regain a seat on the council in the general elections.

According to Geoghegan's filing in New Jersey Superior Court in Ocean County, Byrne was a long-time Democrat and only changed parties to Republican very recently. Accordingly, his switch has not even gone into effect yet. Glaringly, he left blank the "what party are you a member of" column, indicating that he could not honestly assert to already be a member of the Republican party.

Additionally, there were a number of irregularities with Byrne's petition, including that Councilwoman Lynn O'toole notarized the Oath of Allegiance and she was the signer of the nominating petition. As a sitting council member and overseer of the Clerk's Office, she has a conflict of interest in the election of incoming council members.

In addition, the Affidavit of Person Who Circulates Petition and Witnesses Signatures was not properly notarized.

The petition also failed to include a functioning campaign email address as required by state law.

Moreover, Byrne requested that the "Regular Republican Club of Ocean County" be his official slogan, despite not having submitted any documentation that the club endorses this candidacy.

Finally, the County Line Bracketing structure violates several constitutional rights.

The complaint sought an injunction barring Byrne from being placed on the election ballot.

Following oral arguments held on Tuesday afternoon, Judge Wellerson dismissed the petition, highlighting that the Regular Republican Club of Ocean County has not joined this lawsuit and has not objected to Byrne proclaiming to have their endorsement.

Judge Wellerson also noted that there is a big lawsuit pending in Burlington County which is challenging the constitutionality of County Line Balloting and he doesn’t want to interject with his own piecemeal ruling on the matter.

As to the rest of the objections, Judge Wellerson concluded, "I'm not inclined to determine that Byrne is not eligible to be on the ballot as there has not been any actual showing of fraud, so I'll let the voters decide who to vote for."

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