Assemblymen Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River) and John Catalano (R-Brick) defeated challengers Geraldine Ambrosio and Brian Quinn Tuesday, effectively scoring re-election in their solidly Republican district.
The battle in the 10th district was a continuation of the intra-party struggle that’s played out since former Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore resigned from his post in April 2019 after being convicted on federal tax charges.
McGuckin and Catalano had the support of Ocean County Republican Chairman Frank Holman and a spot on the Ocean County GOP line. That meant they appeared in the same column as gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli and State Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Toms River), who was unopposed in his bid for the GOP nod.
The challengers bracketed with gubernatorial candidate Hirsh Singh, running on the “Make New Jersey Great Again” slate, a callback to former President Donald Trump’s slogan. They were also bracketed with a slate of local candidates in Toms River backed by Gilmore.
The race in the 10th district, a solidly-Republican area composed entirely of municipalities in Ocean County, drew little attention statewide and little money.
The challengers raised only $24,563 for their bid through May 25, to the incumbents’ $65,807.
But the contest was still a vicious one. Ambrosio, a real estate appraiser, and Quinn, a civil engineer, attacked McGuckin over public contracts held by his law firm and accused Catalano of being a closeted liberal.
The incumbents focused their offensive against Gov. Phil Murphy’s pandemic rules, though they did slap Ambrosio and Quinn over their allegiance to Singh after King Penna, the gubernatorial candidate’s campaign manager, accosted Ciattarelli’s wife Melinda during a debate.
The winners will go on to face Democrats Mary Quilter and Eileen Della Volle in the general. Democrats haven’t won the 10th district since its lines were redrawn in 1991.