Beth Sawyer, who narrowly lost a race for Woolwich township committee in 2018, is seeking the Republican nomination for State Assembly in the 3rd district to challenge incumbents John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) and Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich).
Sawyer won the endorsement of the Salem County Republican organization on Saturday.
Republicans have not yet completed their search for a second candidate, but are expected to before the April 1 filing deadline.
The 3rd has 19,946 more Democrats than Republicans, but Donald Trump carried the South Jersey district by 3,370 votes (52%-48%).
Sawyer, a realtor and member of the Woolwich Land Use Board, ran for local office in 2018. She placed third, running 50 votes behind her running mate, Craig Frederick, and 64 votes behind the Democrat Natalie Matthias.
Matthias’s victory returned control of the township committee to the Democrats for the first time since 2011.
Burzichelli has emerged as one of the most popular vote-getters in Gloucester County history.
The 3rd district Assembly seats were held by Republicans Jack Collins and Gary Stuhltrager from 1985 until the retirement in 2001.
Burzichelli, a former Paulsboro mayor who lost to Stuhltrager by 3,915 votes in 1999, has now won nine consecutive Assembly races wide comfortable margins.
Two years ago, when Senate President Steve Sweeney and Salem County GOP chairman Fran Grenier combined to spend $18 million in a State Senate race largely driven by the New Jersey Education Association, Burzichelli won by 10,095 votes.
Taliaferro, 37, was elected to the Assembly in 2015 after Celeste Riley left to become Cumberland county clerk. Before that, he spent three years as a Gloucester County freeholder.