Home>Campaigns>McGuckin, Kanitra win Ocean GOP line for 10th district Assembly seats

Assemblyman Greg McGuckin, left, and Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

McGuckin, Kanitra win Ocean GOP line for 10th district Assembly seats

Scaturro says her campaign is over, but Lamb may run off the line

By Joey Fox, March 08 2023 9:33 pm

In a four-way convention fight for two 10th legislative district Assembly seats, Ocean County Republicans gave their county line to Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River) and Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra, rejecting the picks of the Ocean GOP screening committee and dealing something of a blow to county GOP chairman George Gilmore.

McGuckin came in first with 63 votes, while Kanitra finished second with 50, just barely over the threshold to avoid a runoff. Former Brick Councilwoman Ruthanne Scaturro got 35 votes, and Toms River school board member Ashley Lamb got 25; Scutarro and Lamb both had the backing of the county screening committee.

Lamb said after the results were announced that she may still continue with an off-the-line campaign, but Scaturro said definitively that she was done.

“You have to accept what it is,” Scaturro said. “I had hoped that they would have run a little bit of a cleaner race, but it is what it is. I leave for Aruba tomorrow, and I’m good with everything.”

Together with the loss of Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Long Beach) in the 9th district, Lamb’s and Scutarro’s defeats mean Ocean County may have no women legislators in Trenton come 2024.

Earlier in the evening, McGuckin had won a major fight when the assembled Republican county council members narrowly voted to keep the current Toms River Republican club, which is affiliated with McGuckin, rather than decertify it in favor of an alternate Gilmore-aligned club. The Gilmore-backed Regular Republican Club had previously been the official township club until it lost a similar vote in 2021.

The victory of McGuckin and Kanitra, then, should be considered as a defeat for Gilmore, though the party chairman was able to achieve other victories across the county tonight. Two top Gilmore allies, Frank Sadeghi and Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato, won uncontested races for county commissioner and State Senate, respectively.

McGuckin is now all but assured of a seventh term in the Assembly, while Kanitra is set to replace Assemblyman John Catalano (R-Brick), who is running instead for mayor of Brick. (The 10th district’s senator, State Sen. James Holzapfel, faced no opposition tonight.)

“I’m thankful the voters felt I’ve done a good job over the last 12 years,” McGuckin said. “They saw what was going on, and decided they would return me to office. And I very much appreciate that.”

McGuckin and Kanitra already have the GOP line in Monmouth County, which makes up around 10% of the district, after no other candidates filed enough county committee signatures to compete for the line at all.

“I’m so grateful to the voters of the 10th district for putting me in this position,” Kanitra said. “I’m taking the job seriously. I’m not going to Trenton to just fill a seat. I’m a policy wonk, I’m a nerdy government relations guy – my job is to go there and bring as many dollars back to the 10th district as humanly possible, and be a voice for the issues that represent the Shore.”

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