Brick Republican Club president John Catalano has emerged as the leading candidate to replace David Wolfe (R-Brick) in the 10th district State Assembly seat.
Catalano, a former councilman, has won the recommendation of the Ocean County Republican Organization screening committee — an endorsement that is often tantamount to the GOP nomination.
The screening committee interviewed six other candidates for the open seat: Point Pleasant Beach mayor Stephen Reid, former Bay Head council president D’Arcy Rohan Green, Toms River councilman Dan Rodrick, former Brick councilwoman Ruthanne Scaturro, Lakehourst councilman Jim Davis, and former Assembly Republican staffer Samantha DeAlmeida.
The official designation of the organization line will be awarded in at a convention in March, but many of the candidates who screened are expected to withdraw before that vote.
“John will be a tremendous candidate and I am confident that he will make a great member of the Assembly,” said Ocean County Republican chairman George Gilmore. “John has proven himself as a fearless campaigner for candidates throughout the county and I believe that he will continue to use that work ethic to earn the support of the voters.”
The 10th district seat is heavily Republican and Democrats have not won there since 1989.
“I encouraged to see the rebirth of the Republican Party in Brick,” said Gilmore. “Ruthanne has answered the call anytime the party needed someone to step up and John has been a tireless advocate for candidates up and down the ballot.”
Wolfe, 76, is retiring after 28 years in the State Assembly. He defeated incumbent Marlene Lynch Ford (D-Point Pleasant) in 1991.
If the convention ratifies the screening committee choice — they almost always do — Catalano would run with Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin (R-Toms River) in the fall.
Gilmore offered praise for DeAlmeida, who was making her first bid for public office.
“At just 29 years old, Sam represents the future of the Republican party not only in Brick, but throughout the entire state,” said DeAlmeida. “I have encouraged Sam to continue to build relationships and gain valuable experience at the local level, and I am hopeful that she will consider running for Council in Brick.”