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Republican candidate for Congress Hirsh Singh

Singh wins Atlantic GOP line

Toto, Zarych drop out of race for LoBiondo seat

By David Wildstein, March 24 2018 11:41 am

Hirsh Singh revived his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Congress today, winning the endorsement of the Atlantic County Republican organization.  His second ballot victory, with 57% of the vote, now makes him the clear front-runner for GOP nomination.

Atlantic is the largest of the eight counties in New Jersey’s 2nd district, representing 33% of the Republicans who voted in the last primary election.

According to SaveJersey.com, Singh received 640 votes on the second ballot, defeating retired FBI agent Robert Turkavage (194), former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (235) and former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman (50 votes).

Singh, a software engineer who has pledged to put $2 million of his own money in the race, now has the lines in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Ocean counties, which combine for 44% of the primary voters.  Two rivals from Atlantic County, Somers Point Councilman James Toto and attorney John Zarych, have dropped out of the race.

Toto has the organization line in Salem County, which comprises 9% of the primary vote.  Salem will now review other options between now and the filing deadline.

The rest of the field is splintered: Fiocchi has the line Cape May (21%); Brian Fitzherbert, a systems engineer for a defense contractor, has the endorsement of the Gloucester County GOP (13%);  and Turkavage has the backing of Cumberland (11%).

Holding this seat has been an uphill fight since Frank LoBiondo announced he would not seek re-election in New Jersey’s 2nd district last November. Democrats seem likely to run Jeff Van Drew, a popular right-of-center state Senator who wins his Republican-leaning legislative district by 2-1 margins. Donald Trump carried Van Drew’s district by ten points, and the congressional district by four points.

While Van Drew got in the race quickly, Republicans found themselves without a succession plan when the 71-year-old LoBiondo retired. It took the GOP two months before retired FBI agent Robert Turkavage, a Kasich for President supporter who had run as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, got in the race.

Van Drew has faced some resistance from Democrats over his 100% rating from the National Rifle Association and his opposition to same sex marriage, but the anti-Van Drew vote has been divided between three challengers that appears to leave no path for any of them to win. Will Cunningham, Sean Thom and Tanzie Youngblood combined to win 43% at the Atlantic County Democratic convention last weekend.

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