Endorsement war underway ahead of March 4th’s NJ-03 Ocean GOP convention

TOMS RIVER, N.J. – Who’s with who?

It’s strictly a numbers game heading into next week’s Ocean Republican convention to determine who gets the coveted Ocean “line” in June’s NJ-03 GOP primary contest. 

Former Burlington Freeholder Kate Gibbs is endorsed by her home county GOP; she also has the Brick GOP in her corner.

“Beyond a doubt, Kate Gibbs is the most qualified candidate running for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Kate has spent a lot of time in Brick,” the local club announced in a joint statement issued Wednesday. “We have gotten to know her and see first-hand her high energy and what she will bring to the table. Kate’s experience as a Freeholder of cutting taxes while creating services and as a leader in the building trades creating jobs, tells us she will fight for our district and go to Washington to support President Trump’s America First Agenda.”

Gibbs’s endorsement roster includes six legislators and two freeholders in her corner. Presumably, Ocean GOP Chairman Frank Holman is, too, since she won the screening committee’s nod.

Opponent David Richter, who used to run a large construction firm, isn’t lying down. This week, his campaign rolled out support from Stafford’s mayor and three councilmen; he also got the official endorsement of Stafford’s Conservative Republican Club and the Ocean Township (Waretown) Republican Club.

“I am very grateful to all of my supporters in Waretown for their endorsement of my campaign for Congress and their recognition that I am the best candidate in this race to take on and defeat Andy Kim this November. Our grassroots support is growing and I look forward to earning even more support as this campaign moves forward,” said Richter.

What makes this year’s NJ-03 convention so interesting is that it’s the first since ex-Chairman George Gilmore’s fall from grace (in case you missed it, he was sentenced to jail time following a federal tax-related criminal prosecution).

Will the majority of the committee follow the chair’s lead as was the case when Gilmore reigned?

Or will the committee fracture into blocs and do their own thing?

And these endorsements aren’t largely symbolic as is the case in most political races. The math is also fairly complicated. Each town’s GOP mayor (if there is one), a single GOP member of council (again, if there is one), the local municipal chair and local GOP club president each get a vote. The club president also boasts an extra vote for every five voting districts inside his or her town. Legislators, county row officers and party officials – both current and former – also get to vote provided they still reside inside Ocean County’s borders.