Democrats have green-lighted a public school teacher and a professional poker player for State Assembly in the 9th district, a largely kamikaze mission in one of New Jersey’s most Republican legislative districts.
Sally Collins and Wayne Lewis will challenge incumbents Brian Rumpf (R-Little Egg Harbor) and DiAnn Gove (R-Long Beach). They won the Democratic organization lines in Ocean and Atlantic counties this weekend and Burlington County last Thursday.
The 9th has 17,227 more Republicans than Democrats. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won the district by 13,461 votes, 65%-35%.
Collins, a public school teacher from Eagleswood and an active member of the teachers union, is the Eagleswood Democratic municipal chair. She has run twice for township committee.
Lewis, a poker player and Democratic county committeeman from Galloway, was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention pledged to Bernie Sanders. Lewis used a crowd sourcing site to raise the money he needed to pay his expenses at the convention.
“Since Galloway Township and Port Republic were taken out of the Second District in 2011, our residents have felt a severe lack of representation in Trenton,” said Lewis. “If we want to meet with our legislators, we have to travel 40 minutes to Forked River. It’s about time we had a Galloway Township person fighting for our interests at the state level.”
The Long Beach Island-based district includes Barnegat, Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Beachwood, Berkeley, Eaglewood, Harvey Cedars, Lacey, Little Egg Harbor, Long Beach, Ocean, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, South Toms River, Stafford, Surf City and Tuckerton in Ocean County; Galloway and Port Republic in Atlantic; and Bass River, Tabernacle and Washington in Burlington.