Home>Highlight>Ex-NJ legislator continues rise in New Hampshire politics

Rick Merkt, right, and Chris Christie inspect Morris County voting machines during their 1995 campaign for the New Jersey State Assembly in the 25th district.

Ex-NJ legislator continues rise in New Hampshire politics

Rick Merkt elected Cheshire County GOP vice chairman

By David Wildstein, January 16 2019 9:18 am

Richard Merkt spent twelve years in the New Jersey State Assembly before giving up his seat to seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2009.

Now Merkt is building a new political career – in New Hampshire.

He was recently elected vice chairman of the Cheshire County Republican Committee.  His win follows his election last year as a Republican State Committeeman.

The election now puts Merkt in position of being courted by presidential candidates the next time there is a competitive race in the first-in-the-nation primary.

Merkt first ran for the New Jersey State Assembly in 1995, running on a ticket with then-Morris County freeholder Chris Christie.  Both were Mendham Township candidates.  They lost the primary that year to now-State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township).

Merkt was elected to the Assembly in 1997 when Bucco moved up to the Senate and spent twelve years in the Legislature.  He challenged Christie for the Republican nomination for governor in 2009 but was unsuccessful.

In 2011, Merkt was appointed to fill a seat on the Mendham Township Committee and served until his resignation in 2014 to become the business administrator for Mendham Borough.  He was mayor of Mendham in 2013.  He started out his career as a deputy state attorney general during the Kean administration, and was a longtime legislative aide to Assemblyman Arthur Albohn.

“It is a privilege for me to have a voice in deciding our party’s future direction,” Merkt said.  “Politics have changed in New Hampshire as the result of hardball tactics and special interest money flowing into the Granite State, and the New Hampshire Republican party needs a new strategy to respond to — and win — in this challenging environment.”

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