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Salem County Commissioners Ben Laury, left, and Mickey Ostrum. (Photo: Salem County Republicans).

Two Salem County Commissioners back Sawyer for Senate

Ostrum, who dropped campaign against Durr in March, still aiming to beat him

By Joey Fox, May 16 2023 10:34 am

Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich)’s off-the-line primary campaign against State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan) has earned the backing of two Salem County Commissioners, one of whom was briefly Sawyer’s running mate earlier this year in the 3rd legislative district.

Commissioners Ben Laury (R-Elmer) and Mickey Ostrum (R-Pilesgrove), who ran a month-long campaign against Durr before abruptly dropping out in March due to a lack of party support, both announced their endorsement of Sawyer over the weekend – a notable development given that the Salem GOP organization is backing Durr and his running mates.

“As we know, Salem County is often forgotten and neglected by politicians in Trenton,” the two commissioners said in a letter. “But we can decisively say that has not been the case with Assemblywoman Sawyer. Beth has been a real fighter for Salem County – and quite literally the most effective advocate we’ve had since former Assembly Speaker Jack Collins.”

(Perhaps not coincidentally, Sawyer has a Collins on her legislative ticket: Assembly candidate Joe Collins, the nephew of the former Speaker.)

Salem County is the smallest county in the state, so Laury and Ostrum only represent around 65,000 people. But that’s still good for around a quarter of the 3rd district’s population, and given Salem County’s Republican trend in recent elections, it may make up a larger share of the GOP primary electorate.

The two commissioners appear to be the first endorsers Sawyer’s Senate campaign has gotten from elected officials above a local level; her website’s endorsements page lists the letter from Laury and Ostrum, and nothing else.

But campaign finance reports released today indicate that another notable Republican is on Team Sawyer, albeit not one from anywhere near the 3rd legislative district. Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn (R-Holmdel), who represents parts of Monmouth County, donated $500 to Sawyer’s Senate committee at the beginning of this month.

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