Home>Highlight>Merkt returns to politics, in New Hampshire

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.

Merkt returns to politics, in New Hampshire

Former gubernatorial candidates is now GOP state committeeman

By David Wildstein, December 11 2018 12:41 pm

Former Assemblyman Richard Merkt is back in politics, winning a seat on the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.

New Jersey Hills was the first to report on Merkt’s election.

Merkt, 69, moved to New Hampshire last year after a long career in New Jersey politics.

It’s possible that Merkt could continue to move up in Granite State politics.

New Hampshire has a 440-member House of Representatives, where seats are often occupied by senior citizens and college students.  The post pays $200 annually, plus a travel allotment, and the House meets just part of the year.

Merkt lives in Westmoreland (pop. 1,874), in Cheshire County (pop. 77,117), which is about the size of Parsippany and Montville combined.  Cheshire County has 23 members of the state House of Representatives.

The district Merkt lives in has a population of 13,258 and sends four representatives to the Legislature.  In 2018, Democrats captured all four seats; Republicans lost by 934 votes.

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.

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