Three of Ocean County Republican legislators aren’t ready to endorse a House candidate in the third legislative district.
Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove and State Sens. James Holzapfel and Bob Singer said they were not ready to pick between former Burlington County Freeholder Director and former Hill International CEO David Richter on Monday.
“At this time, there is no endorsement,” Gove said. “Ocean county, we haven’t had our convention yet, our screening committee, and quite frankly, our delegation is looking for who’s the best for our municipalities. Right now, as you all know, things are changing daily.”
The New Jersey Globe reported Richter was abandoning his bid against Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) and would instead seek the nomination to challenge Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton).
Van Drew defected to the Republican party last month after losing support among rank and file Democrats over his opposition to impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Richter, once the frontrunner to take on Van Drew, saw party support vanish after Trump backed the former Democrat, though a deal engineered by former Gov. Chris Christie now pits him against Gibbs, a labor leader who already has the party line in Burlington County.
Ocean County Republican Chairman Frank Holman last week told the New Jersey Globe he was open to backing Richter but said the county’s organizational line would not be awarded until the county GOP held its convention in March.
“I’m on the screening committee, so I certainly would want to hear from everyone, and I haven’t spoken to him yet,” Singer said.
Singer said he and Richter had been playing phone tag.
Trump is set to hold a rally in Wildwood to boost Van Drew tomorrow.
Holman said an endorsement from the president could sway him on Richter, but while former White House political director Bill Stepien, a top Trump advisor, has been tapped as a consultant for Richter’s third-district campaign, it’s unclear whether the president will move to back Richter.
“I know this: Whoever it is better than our present sitting congressman,” Holzapfel said.