Ocean County Republican chairman Frank Holman III says he’s receptive to David Richter as a congressional candidate against Rep. Andy Kim if he decides to end his primary challenge to Rep. Jeff Van Drew and switch districts.
“I spoke to him a couple of days ago and told him we’ll be as fair as we can be,” Holman told the New Jersey Globe. “Richter’s a good candidate. He’s a solid guy. So are (John) Novak and (Kate) Gibbs.”
Holman acknowledged that support from the White House could have a significant impact on the selection of a candidate to run against Kim, a freshman Democrat who narrowly unseated two-term Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in 2018.
“A presidential endorsement means a lot,” Holman said. “We want to avoid a primary.”
Gibbs already has the organization line in Burlington County, where she served as freeholder director. So does Richter, who was chosen by party leaders as their 2nd district candidate in a vote last month before Van Drew switched parties.
Novak is the mayor of Barnegat in Ocean County. Also in the race is former Hainesport mayor Tony Porto.
The decision on a 3rd district candidate will be made at the Ocean County Republican convention that is scheduled for March.
“We’re very disciplined with our process,” the chairman noted. “We welcome anyone to go through the process.”
Holman has endorsed Democrat-turned-Republican Jeff Van Drew in the 2nd district, although Van Drew must still get a majority of votes at the convention in order to secure the Ocean County organization line.
Ocean County has ten municipalities in Van Drew’s district. In 2018, Republican Seth Grossman carried nine of them, with Van Drew winning only tiny Harvey Cedars Boro.