The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) added 21 candidates to its “On the Radar” watchlist of promising Republican congressional candidates today, including two candidates running in New Jersey: businessman Bob Healey Jr. in the 3rd congressional district and Marine veteran Nick De Gregorio in the 5th district.
“Republicans are completely united in our goal of taking back the House and firing Nancy Pelosi,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement. “I look forward to working with these candidates to promote our policies to get inflation under control, secure our border, and stop the violent crime wave sweeping our nation.”
Healey and De Gregorio are both strong fundraisers running against Democratic incumbents whose districts were made more Democratic by the state’s new congressional map. Healey is challenging sophomore Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), while De Gregorio hopes to face three-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).
But both men first face Republican primaries, Healey against Atilis Gym owner Ian Smith and De Gregorio against 2020 nominee Frank Pallotta and businessman Fred Schneiderman While their addition to the “On the Radar” list signals that national Republicans are supportive of their candidacies, it does not preclude the possibility that their primary opponents will also receive national backing; the list includes multiple Republican candidates running in the same district elsewhere in the country.
Already on the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, a shortlist of candidates Republican leaders believe to be the strongest contenders in the nation, is former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), who is considered a small favorite against Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the 7th congressional district.
Two other districts with competitive Republican primaries, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch)’s 6th district and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair)’s 11th district, have yet to receive significant focus from national Republicans.