Atlantic County Freeholder Frank Formica has dropped his bid for the Republican nomination for State Assembly in the 2nd district.
Formica, a popular GOP official who has won four times for county office, told the New Jersey Globe that he would not be a candidate for office this year.
The race to take on Democratic incumbents Vince Mazzeo (R-Northfield) and John Armato (D-Buena Vista) is now down to three candidates: Atlantic County freeholder John Risley, Brigantine mayor Phil Guenther and Somers Point councilman James Toto.
Formica is backing Guenther and Risley.
“Both of them would make an excellent team,” Formica told the Globe.
Atlantic County Republicans will endorse two candidates at a convention later this month.
Guenther had been running with Formica, while Risley had teamed up with Toto.
Ventnor mayor Beth Holtzman dropped out of the race in December for health reasons. She had been Formica’s original running mate.
The district had 14,909 more Democrats than Republicans, but the 2nd is amongst the most politically competitive in the state despite the registration edge. It is also one of two districts in the state with a legislative delegation split between both parties.
Republican Chris Brown (R-Ventnor) moved up from the Assembly to the Senate in 2017, defeating interim State Sen. Colin Bell (D-Margate) by 3,544 votes (53.5%-46.5%). Bell had won a special election convention in two months earlier following the death of incumbent James Whelan (D-Atlantic City).
Armato flipped Brown’s open Assembly seat, defeating Republican Vince Sera, a Brigantine councilman, by 4,869 votes.
Hurley in the Morning was first to report Formica’s withdrawal from the Assembly race.