Robert Turkavage, a retired FBI agent who has made two unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senate, announced today that he would seek the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s second district. NJ.com was first to report Turkavage’s candidacy.
Turkavage wants to succeed Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Cumberland), who announced in November that he would not seek re-election to a thirteenth term in Congress. The district was drawn to favor Republicans, and LoBiondo has had no trouble winning. Democrats have a registration edge of nearly 16,000; Donald Trump won the 2nd by four percentage points, but Barack Obama carried it in 2012 by eight points.
The 63-year-old Brigantine resident spent more than thirty years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then worked on Wall Street as a Vice President in the fraud prevention unit of JPMorgan Chase Bank.
In 2014, Turkavage sough the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, but did not file his petitions. He ran as an independent in 2012 against incumbent Bob Menendez and finished eighth in a field of eleven candidates. He received 3,532 votes statewide — less than 400 of them in the 2nd district.
He supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president in 2016.
Republicans have struggled to find a candidate for a seat they have held for 24 years. The likely Democratic nominee is State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who won re-election last fall with 64% in a legislative district that makes up about 30% of NJ-02.