Mall looms large in Eatontown political race

Eatontown — It’s a wild election season in Eatontown. Seven people on four different teams — Democrats, Republicans, and two independent factions — are vying for two seats on the Borough Council. Meanwhile, a Republican and independent running for mayor have been joined by a former mayor running a write-in campaign.

For all the candidates, the borough is at an economic crossroads as it copes with the future of Monmouth Mall and the development of Fort Monmouth. But the various sides differ on the best way to deal with these situations.

On the Republican side, former councilman Mark Regan is seeking a term as mayor. Jim Corcoran and Vito Paolantonio Jr. are seeking council seats. They’re running on an “Eatontown First” platform.

Democratic candidates Jasmine Story and Lisa Murphy have been running as “right team, right direction,” according to their campaign literature.

After the Democratic candidate for mayor left the election, citing time constraints, former mayor Gerald Tarantolo entered as a write in candidate.

Three independents are running together under the slogan “Town Before Party.” Anthony Talerico is seeking the mayor’s seat; and Ralph Anderson and incumbent Councilwoman Virginia East are seeking seats on council.

Another independent, Christine Caruso, is running on the One Eatontown platform.

Republicans have been saying that Monmouth Mall’s development will help keep Eatontown prosperous, and they’ve advocated for that. One recent campaign flyer quoted from the decision dismissing a lawsuit, where the judge said then “Council President Regan made it clear his decision was based on his desire to stabilize taxes.”

In contrast, Democrats say that they support proper development of the borough, but the proposal for Monmouth Mall is overdevelopment.

Tarantolo also says he’s in favor of revitalizing the mall, but thinks the current administration went about it the wrong way.

Caruso also believes the mall is being overdeveloped, and that 700 additional apartments do not belong in the area.

The Town Before Party team has said the borough is at a crossroads, with the mall part of a greater issue.

“We must balance development with the protection of our neighborhoods and small town feel which we love,” Talerico said in one flyer.