Warren County is backing favorite son Doug Steinhardt for governor with near unanimity, releasing 103 endorsements from county and local GOP leaders on Friday.
This is Steinhardt’s first rollout of endorsements since announcing his bid to take on Gov. Phil Murphy last Friday.
Not on the list is Republican State Chairman Michael Lavery, one of Steinhardt’s best friends. Lavery promised to keep the state party neutral during the gubernatorial primary during his campaign against former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin for the post vacated by Steinhardt’s resignation.
Steinhardt picked up support from Sheriff James McDonald, Freeholders Jason Sarnoski and James Kern and Rick Gardner, Freeholder-elect Lori Ciesla, twelve GOP municipal chairs, and eighteen mayors.
Former Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian and Blairstown Mayor-elect Walter Orcutt, both former county chairmen, also endorsed Steinhardt.
“I have watched Doug Steinhardt raise a family, build a business, serve as a small-town mayor and fight to make Warren County the most Republican territory in New Jersey, all right here in our backyard,” McDonald said. “He is an honorable and impressive man and the best person to take on Phil Murphy. I am proud to call him a friend and I can’t wait to get to work on his campaign.”
“These are the people who know me best,” said Steinhardt. “Over the course of decades of service, the people of Warren County have seen firsthand my dedication to conservative principles and honest leadership. It is humbling to have so many of my closest friends stand by my side as we look to drain the Trenton swamp and turn New Jersey around.”
Steinhardt is still the Warren County GOP chairman.
The widespread endorsements from Warren close out a strong first week for the former Republican State Chairman and ex-Lopatcong mayor.
In what is being viewed as an early test of statewide GOP organizational strength, Lavery beat Hugin by a 24-18 vote. Steinhardt’s main primary rival, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, had endorsed Hugin.
Ciattarelli announced major endorsements in Atlantic and Burlington counties this week – enough to easily secure organization lines in both places. Like Steinhardt, he had started his endorsements with strong support of his home county, Somerset.Steinhardt_warren