Two veterans commissioners of Ocean County won one-sided victories to win tonight in the Republican organizational line.

Virginia Haynes received 152 votes and Jack Kelly 149, easily defeating Toms River River board member Ashley Lamb, who received 37 votes.

Lamb revealed that she was running against Haynes, but Kelly turned down the opportunity to be elected at the convention by acclamation and willingly participated in the vote.

Two other candidates, Jackson’s board member Andrew Kern and former Brigade board member Michael Toulen Sr., dropped out of the race after the Republican Verification Committee backed Haynes and Kelly.

Sheriff Michael Mastronardi had no opposition. He is a big favorite to become the new chairman of Ocean County Republicans in June when incumbent President Frank Holman retires.

Kelly was first elected in 1992, and Haynes was appointed to the vacancy in 2016.

Former Eagleswood mayors Kelly and James Lacey ousted Democrats Paul Brasch and Marc Troncone, the last two Democrats who won the constituency election in Ocean County, by about 15,000 votes in 1992.

Haynes has held the county commissioner since 2016 and is only the second woman to hold the county election. She served as an aide to then-Assembly MP Bob Singer (R-Lakewood) and an assembly clerk before winning a seat in the State Assembly in the 1991 Republican election. She later left the Assembly when Gov. Christine Todd Whitman appointed her executive director of the New Jersey Lottery. Haynes is a member of the National Committee of the Republican Party of New Jersey.

The owner of the Lamb salon and flower shop was elected to the Toms River Education Board in 2020. She took second place in the region out of nine candidates for two places, ahead of Rachel Remelgada by 2,439 votes, who took fourth place. Her husband Justin Lamb is a board member of Toms River.

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