Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) backed David Richter for the third district’s congressional seat, becoming the latest — and most notable — Burlington Republicans to bury the hatchet after a bruising Primary.
“There may not be a more important year to come together and unite as one party,” Peters said. “We have to gain ground and add New Jersey Republican leadership in the halls of Washington, DC. I’m confident David Richter is the guy to do that and win back the Third District.”
Republicans and Democrats endorsing members of their own party is rarely newsworthy after a general election candidate is chosen, but Richter’s vicious and sometimes-personal primary against former Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs left rifts that could keep rank-and-file members of the GOP at home come November.
When Richter pulled his second-district bid for a run in the third, Gibbs had been all but anointed as the party’s candidate. Burlington Republicans had already awarded her the party line in a convention months earlier than usual and faced no credible primary challenge.
The former Hill International CEO launched ads battering Gibbs over a shoplifting charge she received when she was 20 and a low-level marijuana possession offense she was charged with at 22.
Gibbs savaged Richter on his record as a businessman, claiming he was upselling a failed career and charging he gouged New Jersey taxpayers over school construction projects managed by Hill.
But, now, the two eighth-district Republicans, whose relationships with Gibbs date back to her time on the freeholder board, have put stowed their whetstones and sheathed their knives.
“It has been clear throughout the coronavirus pandemic that New Jersey and the nation need more voices from the business community to rise up,” Richter said. “As a successful businessman, David Richter is well equipped to lead South Jersey on a path of economic stability through these unprecedented times.”
Wednesday’s endorsements aren’t the first signs of reconciliation. Angelo Lamberto, Gibbs’ campaign manager, joined Richter’s team as a deputy campaign manager in early August, and Burlington County Republican Chairman Sean Earlen endorsed the party’s nominee later that month.
“I am honored to have the support of both Jean and Ryan and am thankful to have their advice as we move towards Election Day,” Richter said. “As both Sheriff and Assemblywoman, Jean has been a leader in the community, protecting our most vulnerable. Ryan’s entire life has involved serving those around him, from his military service to his service as an elected official. I look forward to working with them when I get to Congress to improve the lives of Burlington County citizens.”