Tim Lurie Withdrawing from Race for Point Beach Mayor
But voters using mail-in ballots may have already voted for him
Tim Lurie is no longer running for Point Beach mayor, but is instead supporting Republican mayoral candidate Stephen Reid, according to one of Lurie's running mates.
Lurie, Point Beach Borough Council president, notified Nick Mazzola, his Democratic running mate, on Wednesday night that he is no longer running because his engineering work as a partner at DW Smith Associates does not allow enough time for the work involved, Mazzola said on Thursday.
However, Lurie's name will still be on the ballot because it is beyond the Sept. 13 deadline for candidates to notify Ocean County officials with enough time for names to be removed from the ballot.
Had Lurie withdrawn by Sept. 13, the Democratic party would have had until Sept. 15 to get a replacement candidate on the ballot, said Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella.
Moreover, there may have been local residents who already voted for Lurie with mail-in ballots, formerly referred to as absentee ballots.
Colabella said on Thursday afternoon that the county began mailing mail-in ballots to Point Beach residents who requested them on Sept. 23. Of the 207 Point Beach residents who requested mail-in ballots, 108 have been returned to the county Board of Elections, Colabella said.
There is no way to tell how many of the 108, or how many of the mail-in ballots that may be returned in coming days, include votes for Lurie because mail-ins are not opened until Election Day, Colabella said.
To request a mail-in ballot, registered voters have to fill out a form asking that the county mail absentee ballots to their homes. Then they complete the forms and mail them back to the county.
Voters who wish to use mail-in ballots have to make sure the ballots they mail arrive at the county Board of Election office by Nov. 1, which is this Tuesday, Colabella said.
If they cannot mail them so they arrive at the county by Nov. 1, they can visit the board office in person until 3 p.m. Nov. 7, the day before the general election, Colabella said.
Voters delivering their completed mail-in ballots in person (as opposed to mailing them back) have until 8 p.m. Nov. 8, which is the close of polls on election day, to deliver them to the county election board office, Colabella said.
Mazzola is running for one of two, three-year council seats. Democratic incumbent councilman Frank Rizzo, who has missed many recent meetings due to illness, is running for re-election.
Lurie did not respond to email and voice mail messages left by Patch.
Mazzola said that Lurie told him that his work with DW Smith, his engineering firm, precludes him from putting enough time and effort into a mayoral campaign.
"He owns the engineering firm," Mazzola said. "And during the past few weeks it's been a real burden for him."
Mazzola said he and Lurie are both supporting Reid for mayor, who is challenging Mayor Vincent Barrella.
Barrella is a registered Republican running as an Independent for the second consecutive year.
Mazzola said, "Although I'm sorry Tim Lurie's business responsibilities will prevent him from continuing in the mayoral race, I am pleased to support Stephen Reid for mayor.
"Steve is a man with extraordinary administrative abilities, but also those personal qualities that would make him an excellent mayor," Mazzola said.
Barrella said on Thursday afternoon that it is wrong for Lurie to withdraw from the race.
"For any candidate to engage in these kinds of shenanigans is just plain wrong," Barrella said. "For a sitting, elected official to do it is unconscionable. He has effectively denied voters the opportunity for true choice by waiting past the deadline for having his name come off the ballot."
Republicans Andy Cortes and William Mayer are running with Reid. Independents Phyllis Thomson and Bret Gordon are running with Barrella. Kitty Stillufsen is also running as an Independent, but not with Barrella and his slate.
Lurie is an engineer and partner at DW Smith Associates in Farmingdale and received his certified municipal engineer's certificate last September.
Any registered voters filling out mail-in ballots at county clerk's office can do so in a "privacy booth," Colabella said, and then deliver it to the county elections board, across the street from the county clerk's office.