An intense Republican primary fight for two Assembly seats is brewing in the Ocean County-based 10th legislative district, but the leader of the district’s ticket, State Sen. James Holazpfel (R-Toms River), says he isn’t taking sides.
“I’m waiting to see what happens with the convention,” Holzapfel said today. “It is a process, and that’s the process. I don’t endorse.”
Assemblyman John Catalano (R-Brick) is retiring to run for mayor of Brick, leaving one seat open; Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River) is running for re-election to the other seat, but he did not get the support of the Ocean GOP screening committee last week.
Instead, the screening committee backed Toms River school board member Ashley Lamb and former Brick Councilwoman Ruthanne Scaturro. A fourth candidate, Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra, is also running and has the Monmouth GOP line alongside McGuckin, but Monmouth County only makes up around 10% of the district’s Republican voters.
Holzapfel has served alongside McGuckin for ten years, and though he didn’t issue an endorsement, he said the assemblyman “has done an excellent job for Ocean County.”
Holzapfel himself is not expected to face any intra-party competition for a fifth term in the Senate. Like the rest of Ocean County, the 10th district is solidly Republican and will almost certainly elect whichever Republican candidates are ultimately nominated.