For 22 years, Phil Guenther has occupied the office of Mayor here on Brigantine Beach. Most of those years, Guenther cruised to victory. For over two decades, the mayor’s support came from city unions and a tightly orchestrated network of friends, family and a dwindling group of full-time residents with voting rights.
In November of 2012, the mayoral cruise hit rough waters. Fed up taxpayers decided to elect another fiscally conservative Democrat.
Brigantine’s Mayor Guenther and Republicans Get Taxpayer Wake-up Call
This historic event provided for a council majority shift for the first time in 100 years. Today, the fiscally conservative Democrats have 5 seats, the pro-public union Republicans have 2.
Challenging Guenther will be Brigantine councilwoman; Lisa McClay, a feisty and well-liked school teacher who’s looking to put another nail in the coffin of Brigantine Green Head Politics.
How could McClay upset Guenther? It’ll take a lot more than yard signs and door to door campaigning. For McClay to win, she’ll need to spend a substantial amount of resources in reaching part-time residents. This group makes up 70% of Brigantine taxpayers and they don’t regularly read the local Brigantine papers or attend city council meetings. It’s these 2nd home owners that need to understand the pros & cons of casting their November vote in Brigantine. In NJ, it’s a fairly easy process to determine if you can register and vote in Brigantine.
Some issues that will affect the November election:
- Are voters comfortable with giving 4 more years to 22 year Mayor?
- Guenther has preference for growing union jobs & pay. Will that fly with voters?
- Mayor Guenther endorsed recent ouster of Public Safety Director that uncovered many inefficiencies.
- Part-time residents not aware of legal voting rights in Brigantine. How will they become aware?
- McClay’s teacher background could help manage Brigantine school board.
- McClay disagrees with Mayor’s take on overtime authority and sign-off.
- Mayor’s defense of Brigantine’s high paid city unions could be liability.
Will it be easy for McClay to upset a charismatic career politician? No. But it can certainly happen in a year full of overtime scandals, union battles, golf course bickering and escalating tax hikes on the island you’ll love for life.
WATCH VIDEO: Brigantine City Union Overtime Confusion.