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Mayor Button Out as Republicans Pick Fresh Slate of Candidates

In a near-unanimous vote, the GOP selects three political novices to vie for council seats this fall.

Moorestown Republicans’ town council ticket will be incumbent-free this fall after the municipal committee decided Tuesday night not to select Mayor John Button to run for a second term.

The committee instead selected three new candidates to vie for the three council seats up for election in November: Phil Garwood, Victoria Napolitano and Pete Palko.

“We are excited about our ticket and the party is solidly unified behind these great candidates,” said John Logue, chairman of the Moorestown Republican Municipal Committee (MRMC). “In the coming weeks, they will share with fellow residents their ideas for addressing the serious issues facing our town.”

None of the candidates have prior experience in public office, according to a release issued by the MRMC, but all are described as active members of the community.

Committee vice chair Mike Locatell, who chairs the selection subcommittee, said the nine-member subcommittee voted unanimously to select Garwood, Napolitano and Palko and the full committee’s vote was nearly unanimous.

Locatell said members of the subcommittee initially reached out to roughly 16 to 17 people who were interested in running, whittling that down to six candidates who were brought in for interviews, which included Mayor Button.

Reached for comment Tuesday night, Button was frank in his assessment of the Republican Party in Moorestown and their reasons for not selecting him.

“What it tells me is the Moorestown Republican Committee has become a committee run by a small number of people who do not represent the majority opinion of Moorestown,” he said, “who are more focused on winning an election than they are on getting the facts and making hard decisions in the best interests of our taxpayers.

“I believe party has no real, meaningful place in running a small town,” he added, alluding to various differences of opinion between he and the party over the course of his tenure.

Asked to respond to Button’s statements, Locatell said he had no comment.

Button said he had an initial interview with the selection subcommittee, and a follow-up phone call sometime after, but no other contact with the party since then. Still, their decision came as neither a surprise nor an expectation for the mayor.

“I wasted no energy on trying to figure out what they were going to do,” he said.

With Button’s exclusion, township council could have an all-new look next year.

Councilmen Greg Gallo and Mike Testa, who ran as a team with Button in 2008, .

Button can still run as a Republican in the primary, or as an Independent in the general, but said he hasn’t made up his mind. There are unresolved issues—the municipal complex, recreation improvements, business revitalization—which he’s reluctant to walk away from.

“I have received many calls encouraging me to run … which was very gratifying, very nice,” he said. “I hadn’t given (running separate from the party) any thought … Tonight, they’ve dealt me a different hand.”

A release issued by the MRMC described Garwood as a “volunteer and leader in the community for over 20 years,” with eight years on the township Recreation Advisory Committee, four as chair. Garwood is also involved with the Christmas parade and is a soccer and field hockey coach.

Napolitano, a software instructor at a local company, enters the race with a master’s in education from Drexel and a “desire … to keep taxes as low as possible,” the release stated.

And Palko, a longtime Moorestown resident, has served as commissioner of the township’s flag football organization and, as CEO of Panther Technologies (a firm specializing in remediation), donated his company’s resources to help repair one of the township’s athletic fields and is currently advising the township on some capital projects, according to the release.

Abc123 March 25, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Look ref, Ed, die, thirdbasemen, and our spokesmen And women, it has been real reading these posts! But let's take decent guess here. The three that "mrmc" chose are your republicans. Unless one of those three gets "cold feet" before or after, or "they" realize that one of them shouldn't be on the ticket for some reason, "it is what it is" for the GOP . As for a bench, maybe p.miller or scooper, or whoever is as backup if needed in the "cold feet" theory stated earlier. It would be interesting" for Mayor Button to run, and that's be determined, and who he'd have run with him, but as "just wondering " just hinted to us, and it appears at this point, jb isn't running. Furthermore, in reading "diehardgop" , it would be a difficult task to run as an independent. Maybe "get them up" that is your close realistic view you want to hear?
Strawbridge Lake Dam Fan March 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM
we will know more after repub brunch April 29 If someone gets "cold feet" who will take there place? Does anyone know more about the button miller broder BMB ticket? Is p. miller really going to run as an "indy"? His father does support turf fields with garwood back in 2006. whats about s. cooper or Al Panzeralla hook up to form an ALL KIDS team? sounds like someones chances will be up in smoke
Abc123 March 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Strawbridge, so you think P.miller and Garwood should be running mates? Who on third slot? Are you pushing Vicky or palko aside? Let us know what you were hinting ? MPG? GMP? GMN? Ticket? What is it?
Pool sticks March 25, 2012 at 09:09 PM
That's interesting abc and strawbridge, I still don't get it why p. Miller wasn't "picked" to run. So let's say as jh that "he declined to interview" , I'm sure with the interest and others off/on blogs , that the mrmc" huddle " would have asked him to run. Did they? Let's win in November!
Lenola Rocks March 25, 2012 at 10:57 PM
The chatter on these blogs are bringing back other names than the mrmc picked. Is Mr. P. Miller now a candidate? Or, he's not and just a number of people are mad that he wasn't picked? I'm not familiar with some of those chosen. It seems Ed, diehard, and many others know Miller and Button but no one really has elaborated on why or who the others are a good pick. Why didn't they pick Miller and Button? Ed, what happens in a week?

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