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T.R. Councilman Gets Local Competition in Congressional Race

Township Council President Says About 10 interested in running for the seat

Byrnes, in truck, chats with a Good Luck Point resident several weeks after Superstorm Sandy
Byrnes, in truck, chats with a Good Luck Point resident several weeks after Superstorm Sandy

by Patricia A. Miller


Berkeley Township Council President James J. Byrnes made it official last night when he announced he's running for the Third District Congressional seat.

Byrnes will face Toms River Councilman Maurice 'Mo' Hill as the Republican organizations in Ocean and Burlington counties decide who to back in the race. Hill, a local dentist and retired Navy Rear Admiral, announced he was entering the race last month.

"I did throw my name into the Congressional race," Byrnes said during the council comments portion of the Township Council meeting last night. "Right now there's probably about 10 candidates."

Republican Jon Runyon announced earlier this year that he would not seek another term.

Ocean County residents will have a "boots on the ground Congressman," Byrnes said, if he's elected.

Byrnes had barely finished making his announcement when Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. jumped in with a lengthy endorsement of his candidacy.

Byrnes served as an Army medic during the Vietnam War and earned a Purple Heart, the mayor said. He's also served on the Berkeley Board of Education, planning board, zoning board and was the facilities director in the Freehold Regional school district.

"He brings a lot of qualifications to the table," Amato said. "I know Jim is taking it very seriously. He's very positive on issues here locally. I think it's time we reward such recognition. He wears his heart on his sleeve. There will be no better person than Jim Byrnes to replace Congressman Runyon."

Both Byrnes and Amato said it's time Ocean County had a Congressional representative.

"No congressman is going to be elected without going through Berkeley," Byrnes said.

Byrnes - who represents Ward 1 - was appointed to a council seat when former Councilwoman Karen Davis stepped down. He was elected to a one-year unexpired term in 2012 and won his first full four-year term in November.

Mortimer Snerd December 31, 2013 at 08:09 AM
Where do they stand on Tea Party issues like shutting down the government and screwing up Congress some more?
grace December 31, 2013 at 08:51 AM
tea party needs to get a new name and get some regular republicans who have had it with the status quo.. we need new young blood and people with common sense...tea party has a bad name, people squirm when they hear it..palin who being a woman and i salute her for her determination is kinda nutty and not a great rep for the party IMHO
Shif December 31, 2013 at 09:33 AM
You two watch way too much tv. You both sound like pmsnbc!

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