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Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe).

DiMaso mulling challenge to Andy Kim in NJ-3

Two-term Monmouth assemblywoman could move to Ocean County, where she owns a shore house

By David Wildstein, July 06 2021 11:30 am

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel) is considering a challenge to Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in New Jersey’s 3rd district, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

“All things are possible,” said Tom Scarano, who managed DiMaso’s recent re-election campaign.  “Everything is on the table.  We’re not ready to make any statements.”

DiMaso, 58,  lost her bid for renomination to a third term in the legislature last month after Monmouth County Republicans declined to support her for re-election.  Holmdel Board of Education President Vicki Flynn defeated her by 1,955 votes.

A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that former Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore has encouraged DiMaso to run against Kim.  Gilmore was a paid political consultant to DiMaso’s 2021 re-election campaign.

New Jersey’s 3rd district has 15,626 more Democrats than Republicans – an advantage that has grown from 11,197 just two years ago – but is one of just seven House districts in the nation carried by Donald Trump and a Democratic congressman.

The state is still six months away from redrawing districts lines for a congressional map from 2022 through the 2030 election.

Kim raised a massive $800,000 in the 2nd quarter of 2021 and has over $2 million in his campaign warchest.

A former White House National Security Council staffer in the Obama administration, Kim flipped the Burlington-Ocean House seat in 2018 when he defeated two-term Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) by 3,973 votes (50%-49%) in what was the closest House race in the state.

In 2020, Kim defeated former Hill International CEO David Richter by 33,513 votes, 53%-45%

A former Holmdel mayor and Monmouth County Freeholder, DiMaso has a home on Long Beach Island in the 2nd district.

Despite the competitiveness of the district, Republicans have not settled on a challenger for Kim.

Mount Holly school board member Will Monk is in the race.  So is Tricia Flanagan, who finished a distant third with 18% in her bid for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in 2020 and received less than one-half of one percent as an independent U.S. Senate candidate in 2018.

Flanagan lives in Princeton and despite a presence on social media and a formal announcement, has not yet filed a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.

Ocean County businessman Robert Healey, Jr. and Toms River Councilman Matthew Lotano have also been mentioned as potential candidates.

The district is no stranger to candidates moving there to run for Congress.

In 2014, MacArthur moved from Morris County — he was mayor of Randolph — to Toms River and self-funded a bid for an open congressional seat.  He won the GOP primary against Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota in Bergen County.

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