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Toms River Councilman Matthew Lotano. (Photo: Matt Lotano.)

Toms River official mulls congressional bid against Kim

Matthew Lotano could take on two-term Democratic incumbent

By David Wildstein, May 14 2021 7:20 am

Toms River Councilman Matthew Lotano is thinking about a run for Congress against two-term Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in New Jersey’s 3rd district next year.

“I’ve thought about it.  I haven’t made a decision,” Lotano said.  “If I had support from the party, I would consider it.”

The 41-year-old real estate developer was elected to an at-large council position in 2019, scoring an off-the-line victory in a ten-candidate Republican primary.  He was the top vote-getter in a hotly-contested general election, outpolling the top performing Democrat by 2,986 votes.

Lotano said that some Republican insiders have suggested that he take on Kim in the 2022 mid-term election, but said he has not formally met with party leaders yet.

Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill said that Lotano would make a good candidate if he decides to run.

“Matt have proven himself to be a very competent councilman,” said Hill.  “I think he’d be a breadth of fresh air in Congress.  He has a lot of positives.”

Kim, who ousted Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in 2018, raised $959,000 during the first three months of this year.

He was re-elected by a 33,513-vote plurality last year, defeating Republican David Richter by a 53%-45% margin.  At the same time, the 3rd district gave Donald Trump a narrow 49.4%-49.2% margin against Joe Biden.

Potential Kim opponents won’t know what the new congressional district will look like until at least December.  The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release municipal population totals this summer.

The current district has 15,899 more Democrats than Republicans, up just 422 since the last election.  After redistricting in 2011, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 9,529.

Hill praised Lotano’s business background.

“We need people who are grounded in the community, that have real jobs,” Hill said.  “Not professional politicians.”

The only announced candidate to challenge Kim is Tricia Flanagan, a Princeton resident who ran for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2018 and lost a GOP Senate primary in 2020.

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