Sam Fiocchi has dropped his bid for State Senate in the 1st district following Michael Testa’s victory at the Cape May GOP convention tonight, clearing the field for the Cumberland County Republican chairman to take on Democrat Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) in a November special election.
Testa beat Fiocchi, a former Republican assemblyman, by a 116 to 33 vote in Cape May.
Last week, Testa beat Fiocchi at the Cumberland Republican convention, 45 to 7.
“I’m honored to have the support and endorsement of the Cape May County GOP. I thank former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi for his gracious decision to withdraw from the race. He was a certainly a formidable opponent,” said Testa. “We’re going to flip the first and bring real conservative leadership to Trenton.”
Andrzejczak won a January special election convention for the Senate after Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) resigned to take his seat in Congress.
Fiocchi had won the Cape May convention one year ago as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress, but lost the primary to Seth Grossman.
Lower Township mayor Erik Simonsen and Ocean City councilman Antwan McClellan were unopposed in their bids to challenge Assemblymen Bruce Land (D-Vineland) and Matthew Milam (D-Vineland).
One of the reasons Republicans were less than aggressive in recruiting a candidate to replace Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) in 2018 was that they saw greater opportunities in the State Senate and Assembly seats in 2019.
The district includes all of Cape May, part of Cumberland (including Vineland), and three towns in Atlantic.
Donald Trump won 55% in the 1st district in 2016. Republicans have a slight advantage in voter registration – 44,004 to 40,159, with 62,695 unaffiliated voters. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin carried Cape May County with 61% and is ahead in Cumberland by 73 votes.
Republicans view the 1st district as competitive, but have been unable to break Van Drew’s lock, or his ability to help his running mates across the finish line. But without Van Drew on the ballot, the GOP is making a big push to pick up a Senate seat in a 2019 special.