Rival GOP tickets set for battle to control Moorestown Council Deputy Mayor Jeffrey K. Harding introduced two new running mates. Another slate formed last week.

Posted: March 26, 2004

MOORESTOWN — Nowhere could the split in the Republican Party in Moorestown be seen more clearly than in front of the Community House on East Main Street.

There stood Deputy Mayor Jeffrey K. Harding yesterday, introducing his running mates for three Township Council seats in the June 8 primary: Cindi Maahs-Knobbs and Stacey Jordan.

They were announcing their candidacies one week after three other Republicans - Harvey Howard, Lois Downey and Larry Anastasi - announced their intention to run.

Harding, a 46-year-old exterior contractor in his first term, is the only incumbent running. His 2000 running mates have stepped aside: Kathleen Shapiro, nearing the end of her first elected term, resigned March 10, and Mayor Michael Sanyour, a veteran of 16 years on the council, announced Wednesday that he would not seek a fifth term.

Harding said the primary issue in Moorestown is "cooperation." The council has a "job to do, and it's not about playing games. The job has become very difficult to do."

The party fractured as members of the all-Republican council disagreed on several issues, including zoning, housing density, open space and ethics. Some of the disagreements go back two years, when developer Toll Bros. was granted zoning concessions to construct an office park on rural Centerton Road.

Further pressure came in January when Shapiro cast the tiebreaking vote to reappoint her husband, Andy, to the planning board. A judge later threw out her vote and vacated Andy Shapiro's seat. The case is under appeal.

The division on the council runs along lines created by the Toll Bros. controversy, which occurred while Andy Shapiro was planning board chairman. Harding and Sanyour favored his reappointment. Councilmen Howard Miller Jr. and Daniel Roccato opposed it.

"There's a lot of issues that have polarized [council]," Jordan said. "Obviously, Cindi and I wouldn't be running if there was a consensus in the Republican Party."

Jordan, 33, a homemaker and mother of four, has been a member of the zoning board since 1999 and serves on Burlington County's open-space advisory committee. Maahs-Knobbs, 47, who has four children, is the fire official for Moorestown District 2.

Neither has run for political office, but both are deeply connected to the Republican Party. Maahs-Knobbs is the daughter of Walter Maahs, a Moorestown councilman for two decades and mayor for 12 years. Jordan is the daughter of Vincent R. Farias, Burlington County's freeholder director.

Their three opponents in the primary were nominated Wednesday by Moorestown's 40-member Republican municipal committee as candidates to fill Kathleen Shapiro's seat on an interim basis.

The council has until April 9 to choose one. The topic will be on the agenda at its meeting Monday, Township Manager Jack Terry said. If the council doesn't make its choice then, a special meeting will be held, he said.

Contact staff writer Rusty Pray

at 856-779-3894 or rpray@phillynews.com.

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