WALL – The three CD4 candidates went to the front of the IBEW local here and – in the contest of the day, in the county that shoulders the lion’s share of the towns that make up the district – Jim Keady waded in first.
Blue jacket. Red tie.
He took a new tack.
The stentorian master of improv read his speech.
Maybe he wanted to rein in that passion on display when he went toe to toe on with Governor Chris Christie on the subject of Sandy beach clean up.
“You’ve known me when I let my passion get the best of me,” admitted the activist and former Asbury Park councilman.
Or maybe he simply wanted to make absolutely sure he hit all his bullet points in his final “to be a Democrat” argument.
“We are seeing Democratic activism at the grassroots level like we have not seen in decades,” Keady said. “We had 100 standing out in the snow greeting you today. We are witnessing a tipping point, led by young people, where the stranglehold of the NRA and the gun lobby are about to be broken.”
The women’s movement that mobilized in opposition to President Donald J. Trump kick-started it, he said.
“We as Democrats have the numbers to beat Chris Smith,” Keady averred. “[People] have had enough of Congressman Smith’s no show absenteeism.”
Music teacher Mike Keeling went second.
The native Kentuckian too stuck to his script.
“I promise to stay on track today,” said Keeling, who distinguished himself on the trail for . “I’d like to thank Josh and Jim for throwing their hat in the ring to run against a man who said they can’t be beat.”
He lingered on Josh Welle, sometimes the object of Keeling’s sharpened debate forum attacks.
“I’d like to apologize to Josh,” he said.
Welle lingered against an IBEW Hall wall.
“We both served on guided missile destroyers,” Keeling explained to the crowd. “We are brothers. Brothers fight, and we have been fighting out on the front yard for everyone to see.”
Then he somewhat shocked the room.
“I am rescinding my nomination and urging all delegates to vote for Jim Keady,” said Keeling, and with that stepped off the podium.
“Someday he will forgive me,” Keeling said of Welle.
Welle went to the podium.
“I stood the watch before and I will stand the watch again,” vowed the Navy veteran, who received rousing applause. “We need a candidate who can appeal to thousands of independent voters. We will add votes from moderates.”