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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Stuart Meissner.

Meissner to drop U.S. Senate bid against Booker

Rik Mehta has emerged as front-runner after going 7-0 on organization endorsements

By David Wildstein, February 11 2020 12:08 pm

Former prosecutor Stuart Meissner will end his bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination within the next few days, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Meissner’s path to win the Republican primary has narrowed considerably over the past few weeks as Rik Mehta has run the table on county organization endorsements and emerged as the clear front runner for the chance to take on Cory Booker in the fall.

Mehta, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official, has won endorsements in one-third of the counties so far – Burlington, Camden, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Somerset, Union and Warren.  Those counties make up about 34% of the Republican primary voters statewide.

Meissner had the endorsement of Hudson County GOP chairman Jose Arango, but the Hudson County Republican organization had not yet finalized h

Hirsh Singh, Tricia Flanagan and Natalie Rivera remain in the race.

New Jersey Republicans have lost the last sixteen races for U.S. Senate.  Their last victory came in 1972 when Clifford Case was re-elected to a fourth term.  Only Hawaii has gone longer in electing a Republican to the U.S. Senate.

The Meissner campaign was dealt a tough blow last week when the Monmouth County GOP screening committee did not advance him to the convention ballot.

On Twitter, Meissner was critical of Shaun Golden, the Monmouth County Republican chairman, for not including him on the ballot.

A former assistant Manhattan district attorney and deputy New York state attorney general, Meissner has been self-financing his U.S. Senate bid.

He loaned his campaign $300,000 – about 95% of what he raised – and still had $186,865 cash-on-hand as of the end of 2019.

Dropping out of the race allows Meissner to return whatever his still left in his campaign account to himself.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Meissner became part of the “bucket brigade that helped clear debris from Ground Zero.  As a result of his volunteer efforts, he became a cancer survivor.

In the 2013 special election for Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat, Meissner won 2,051 votes statewide against Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan (0.15%).  He finished 738,691 votes behind Booker.

Once a Democrat, Meissner became involved in GOP politics in 2016 as a volunteer on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Meissner will be the second Republican to drop out of the race.  Former Monmouth County Freeholder Gary Rich ended his campaign this month and endorsed Flanagan.

A spokesperson for the Meissner campaign did not immediately respond to a text message and telephone call at 11:23 AM.  His campaign advisor did not immediately respond to a 10:56 AM telephone call.

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