Republican congressional candidates in the first district are already fighting one another.
“I’m also proud of the type of candidate I am a middle class husband, father, worker and business owner who is growing increasingly disgusted with the status quo of partisan politics in our country,” Josh Duvall said.
“That’s why the recent attacks from Mrs. Gustafson came as a surprise to me. As the only filed candidate running for the GOP ticket against Donald Norcross, I have to assume her negative comments were directed at me. She labeled me as ‘wishy-washy,’ ‘pandering,’ weak on pro-life issues and the Second Amendment — among other things.”
Duvall is referring to comments made by the district’s second Republican candidate, Claire Gustafson.
When she announced she was forming a committee to explore a bid in the first district earlier this month, Gustafson, who is mounting a bid as a pro-Trump conservative in the heavily-Democratic district, she said Republicans didn’t want a moderate candidate.
She insisted Friday the statement wasn’t a shot at Duvall, the only other Republican in the running for Rep. Donald Norcross’s seat.
“I don’t know why Josh Duvall would think I was speaking of him,” Claire Gustafson said. “There have been rumors out there for months that a realtor out of Washington Township is considering running for Congress. The fact is I merely stated what Republicans have said to me, that they don’t want a wishy-washy middle-of-the-road nominee pandering for Democrat votes.”
Gustafson leveled her own attack against Duvall, claiming it was he who threw the first stone.
“Obviously it upsets Josh that I’m considering getting into this race,” Gustafson said. “I’ve met Josh, I like Josh, he’s a nice young man. Unfortunately, he’s just a little inexperienced,” she said. “Whatever the case, when I issued my statement I was careful to honor Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment and did not speak ill of any fellow Republican. Josh Duvall violated that Commandment.
The early feud is a bad sign for Republicans hoping to flip a district they haven’t won in close to 50 years.
“No matter who attacks me, whether it be Republicans, Democrats, or Progressives — I’m banking my candidacy on a single solitary truth – voters want a candidate they can feel good about voting for…instead of always casting their ballot as a way of voting against someone they dislike,” Duvall said.
Filing day isn’t until April.