Ocean County Republicans took steps to drop two veteran lawmakers from their organization line after the party’s screening committee denied party support to seven-term Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Long Beach) in the 9th district and six-term Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River) in the 10th.
The recommendation is that Republicans run Stafford Mayor Greg Myhre instead of Gove. She’s served in the legislature since 2009. Another incumbent on the chopping block, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-Little Egg Harbor), an assemblyman since 2003, survived an attempt to remove him from the ticket after a vote tonight.
Toms River school board member Ashley Lamb and former Brick Councilwoman Ruthanne Scaturro replaced McGuckin. The other incumbent, Assemblyman John Catalano, is giving up his seat to run for mayor of Brick.
The screening committee is just the first stage toward awarding the organization line. Candidates can still compete at the Ocean County GOP convention next month.
Former Barnegat Mayor John Novak is expected to continue his Assembly bid in the 9th district at the convention. Still, it’s not immediately clear if any of the other candidates — Lacey Mayor Timothy McDonald, Lacey Township Committeeman Mark Dykoff, Berkeley Councilman James Byrnes, and Valerie Smith, the head of the Ocean Academy Charter School in Lakewood – will continue their campaigns.
As long as the current Toms River Republican Club remains certified, McGuckin could be positioned to win the convention. McGuckin and Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra have the organization line in Monmouth, which makes up about 10% of the district. Kanitra has told supporters he plans to take his fight to the convention.
The selection of Scaturro, the party vice chair, was a surprise. The front runner was another Brick Republican, Cathy Lindenbaum, a former school board member who had served as president of the New Jersey PTA.
The screening committee also recommended Frank Sadeghi, a builder, and GOP fundraiser, to run for Ocean County Commissioner. The incumbent, Joseph Vicari, is not seeking re-election after nearly 42 years in office.
Berkeley Councilman Jimmy Byrnes, who ran for both State Assembly in the 9th and for county commissioner, lost both races.