At least four gubernatorial candidates will submit a letter of intent to seek the endorsement of the powerful Ocean County Republican organization.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and former Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt are expected to face off in a bid for the organization line at the February 6 screening committee and the March 6 Republican convention.
Former Franklin Mayor Brian D. Levine, who announced on January 1 that he would explore a gubernatorial bid, told the New Jersey Globe that he would request an opportunity to screen if he decides to join the race.
Joseph Rudy Rullo, who lives in Little Egg Harbor, also said he would submit a letter of intent before the January 16 filing deadline established by GOP County Chairman Frank Holman.
A fifth candidate, Hirsh Singh, has not yet indicated if he will seek the support of the Ocean Republican organization. They backed him in his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid last year, but are unlikely to do so again.
Ocean made up 12.4% of the total vote in the 2017 gubernatorial primary and is 11.2% of the total number of registered Republicans in the state.
The organization line has delivered large pluralities in recent statewide primaries: a 38,290-vote margin (47%-31%) for Kim Guadagno in 2017; 16,744 (80%-20%) for Bob Hugin in 2018; and 34,217 (74%-11%) for Singh in 2020.