Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Long Beach) will not seek re-election to the Ocean County seat she’s held since 2009 after losing party support for another term.
“I’m disappointed, but it is what it is,” Gove told the New Jersey Globe. “That’s the process. I’ve had a pretty good run.”
Gove nearly pulled off a convention victory last week, despite a screening committee recommendation that the organization line be awarded to incumbent Brian Rumpf (R-Little Egg Harbor) and Stafford Mayor Greg Myhre. Rumpf finished first with 96 votes; Myhre received 67 votes, and Gove was a close third with 56. The outcome would have been different had one Republican club flipped to Gove.
The 9th district assemblywoman had briefly considered an off-the-line primary challenge but decided against it. Instead, she will support Rumpf and Myhre.
“I had people who support me who said they would help me raise money, but I want to concentrate on what I was elected to do,” Gove said. “Work hard for the people of my district.”
The former public school teacher became a casualty of a change in party leadership. She had endorsed Michael Mastronardy for Ocean County GOP chairman last year — so did Rumpf — while Myhre supported the winner, George Gilmore.
Still, Gove is disappointed by what will likely be an Ocean County legislative delegation entirely made up of men.
“I feel there should be more women in government,” said Gove, the only woman lawmaker from Ocean County for the entirety of her fourteen years in the legislature. Indeed, she is just the sixth Ocean County woman lawmaker since women were granted the right to vote in 1920.
Gove will leave office next January with tremendous pride in her work as a three-term Long Beach commissioner, mayor, and state legislator.
“I can’t thank my constituents who elected me enough,” Gove said. “I loved every minute of it. I have it my 150%, and I will continue to work for my constituents.”
She was elected to the Assembly in 2009 and entered the legislature early after the incumbent was charged with accepting a bribe and resigned.
The announcement that Gove will retire makes her the 23rd legislator in the state not to seek re-election, although eight of them are seeking another public office.
The screening committee also sought to deny the line to Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River) in the 10th district, but he won a decisive victory at the convention.