Click play for audio version of this story
Former Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) appeared at a fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Brian Fitzherbert last night in Ventnor, signaling that the retired twelve-term congressman has picked a horse in the race to unseat freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) in New Jersey’s 2nd district.
The event was held at the home of Anne M. Baker, a conservative radio show host for WOND, a South Jersey radio station.
While LoBiondo has not officially endorsed Fitzherbert, the New Jersey Globe has learned that he did heap praise on the former Atlantic County Young Republican Chairman.
Sources said that LoBiondo committed to “be Brian’s side” during the 2020 campaign and said that he thought Fitzherbert would do a good job in his old seat.
LoBiondo stayed out of the 2018 campaign to succeed him. He did not endorse anyone in the Republican primary, and pointedly declined to back the GOP nominee, former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman.
A moderate during his 24 years as a congressman, LoBiondo was among a group of Republican House members who never embraced Donald Trump. He voted against a GOP bid to repeal Obamacare in 2017.
Van Drew defeated Grossman by a 53%-45% margin in a district that Trump carried by four points in 2016.
Fitzherbert, a 30-year-old defense industry project manager, briefly sough the Republican congressional nomination in 2018.
Former Hill International CEO David Richter, and Robert Patterson, a controversial former Trump administration official, are already in the race for the Republican nomination.
Another candidate, retired U.S. Navy captain Brian Glackin, is also mulling a House bid. Glackin ran the Navy’s Capitol Hill Appropriations office prior to his retirement.
LoBiondo is now working as a lobbyist. He recently joined the advisory board of Mercury, one of New Jersey’s most influential government relations firms.