Monmouth County Republicans have a choice of two candidates when they meet tomorrow to pick a challenger to take on Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch), the chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee.
Vying for the nomination are two candidates whose combined ages is still sixteen years younger than Pallone, who has served in Congress since 1988: Christian Onuoha, 27, and Sammy Gindi, 25.
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.
Gindi, an entrepreneur from West Long Branch, is making his first bid for public office.
As an observant Jew, Gindi told the Globe that he will stay in a hotel near the convention location tonight and walk there in the morning so that he can speak with delegates.
In a Republican primary, the 6th district is almost evenly split between Monmouth and Middlesex Republicans.
Middlesex appears to want Onuoha as their candidate. Monmouth will need to decide if the chance to take on Pallone is worth their organization taking on Middlesex in a primary.
Onuoha wants to use his campaign to broaden the Republican base.
“I want to inspire many more people to come together and get things done,” he told the Globe during a short telephone interview.
Gindi says that he is “getting a lot of support from people in the community” as he begins reaching out to voters.
Monmouth Republicans will also vote to award their organization line for U.S. Senate tomorrow. The party’s screening committee voted to put just two candidates, Rik Mehta and Natalie Rivera, on the ballot.
Another candidate in the race, Stuart Meissner, has complained that he did not make the Monmouth ballot.
The losing candidate for Congress would have the option of running on a line with one of the five GOP Senate candidates vying for a chance to take on Cory Booker.