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Barnegat Mayor John Novak

Novak backs out of Ocean GOP convention, remains in race

By Nikita Biryukov, March 04 2020 7:43 pm

Barnegat mayor John Novak will remain in the race for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd district, but declined to be nominated at the Ocean GOP convention tonight.

“You should not take that to mean that I’m dropping my bid. It means that, depending on the results of tonight’s election, I may or may not be in the primary,” Novak said. “My team and I are looking at analytical data, and it would appear as though if David Richter gets the nod and I’m in a fair fight with Katie Gibbs, both being off the line, then I win resoundingly.”

The mayor faces former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs, former Hill International CEO David Richter and former Hainesport Mayor Tony Porto in his bid for the Republican nod.

Porto did not screen for the nod in Ocean and was unable to run for the organizational line.

Richter won the county’s line Wednesday, meaning Novak will remain in the race.

He said he did not seek the line because of political maneuvering he claimed tainted the contest.

“I don’t believe that the process was entirely fair,” he said. “We’re still looking at information, and once that information is vetted, I’ll be in a better position to comment, but until we vet the information we’ve received, I’d prefer not to comment. I can only tell you what our beliefs are. I believe there were a lot of maneuvers that skewed the process in favor of one candidate or the other.”

Some in the county backed Gibbs, who won the endorsement of the Ocean GOP’s screening committee.

Former Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore and his allies backed Richter.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Novak has dropped out.  He has not.

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