Christian Onuoha is leading the race the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 6th district after mounting a write-in campaign to challenge Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch).
Onuoha and Sammy Gindi faced off in a write-in contest after neither filed the 200 valid signatures needed to get on the primary election ballot.
The 27-year-old Onuoha had won the organization line in Middlesex and Monmouth counties, but couldn’t get his petitions signed until waiting until after the start of the coronavirus pandemic to complete the project.
Onuoha leads Cindi, 25, in Monmouth County by a 196 to 64 vote. Middlesex County has not released write-in numbers, but the New Jersey Globe has leaned that Onuoha has received at least 99 votes there.
A third apparent candidate, Feiby Dawod, a risk manager from Marlboro, has received at least 21 votes.
The race against Pallone, 68, is an uphill one. The chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee was re-elected with 64% in 2018 and has held the seat since 1988.
Pallone leads in the Democratic primary by an 82%–15% margin over progressive Russ Cirincione. A third candidate, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, is at 3%.
Onuoha, whose parents were Nigerian immigrants, challenged Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin last year and lost by a 2-1 margin in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic.