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Former Collingswood Board of Education member Claire Gustafson

New candidate emerges to challenge Norcross for Congress

Claire Gustafson, a former Collingswood school board member, announces exploratory committee

By David Wildstein, November 12 2019 2:11 pm

Former Collingswood school board member Claire Gustafson is exploring a bid for the Republican nomination for Congress to run against Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) in New Jersey’s 1st district next year.

If she runs, Gustafson would face Josh Duvall, who entered the race last year, in the GOP primary.

“Republicans I’ve talked with don’t want a wishy-washy middle-of-the-road nominee pandering for Democrat votes,” Gustafson said. “They want a candidate who understands that ‘reproductive rights’ does not mean using abortion as a form of birth control. They want a pro-Second Amendment candidate who isn’t afraid to voice their support for President Trump’s policies. I’m solidly behind our President and don’t believe in pandering, if I run Republicans will get the candidate they want.”

Gustafson is the president of the Camden County division of the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women and runs a small business.

Greenwich Township Mayor George Shivery says he would back Gustafson If she runs.

“I met Claire when she ran in 2014 and, frankly, she was a far better choice than the party’s handpicked candidate,” said Shivery.  “If she runs, she will have my endorsement and support. I will encourage Gloucester County to award her the line.”

Gustafson ran against Garry Cobb in the 2014 primary, losing 68%-14%.  She ran for Camden County Freeholder last week.

Former Magnolia Mayor Joseph Adolf said Republicans picked the wrong candidate in 2014 when they nominated Garry Cobb to challenge Norcross, then a state senator seeking the seat left vacant when Rep. Rob Andrews (D-Haddon Heights) resigned.

“Claire’s got some experience having served on Collingswood’s school board and she’s proved she can run an aggressive campaign,” Adolf said.  “This is a great opportunity for Republicans to right a wrong and run a candidate not afraid to take the fight to Congressman Norcross.”

Norcross defeated Cobb by 29,242 votes, 57%-39%, in 2014.  He was re-elected in 2018 with 64% of the vote against Republican Paul Dilks, winning by 82,011 votes.

“Exploratory committees are about gauging support and determining if the financial resources to be competitive will be there,” Gustafson said. “No Republican will match Congressman Norcross dollar-for-dollar, but whoever the candidate is must be able to raise enough money to force him to keep his money in the district and not send it to the second and third districts. If we determine I can raise the money needed to do at least that, I’ll be in.”

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