Steinhardt spends first day of campaign in critical Ocean, Monmouth battlegrounds

Steinhardt spends first day of campaign in critical Ocean, Monmouth battlegrounds

STAFFORD TWP., N.J. – Doug Steinhardt kicked off his gubernatorial campaign on Friday in the two counties which may ultimately decide the GOP nomination. 

Steinhardt huddled with local Republican officials in Stafford (Ocean), Berkeley (Ocean) and Colts Neck (Berkeley) over diner fare as part of what’s being styled the “Diners with Doug” tour shortly after making his launch official. He’ll likely need to win at least one of the two populous Jersey Shore counties’ lines this winter to prevail in June.

In 2017, Kim Guadagno emerged from Ocean and Monmouth with a combined 20,247 raw vote advantage over Steinhardt’s 2021 opponent Jack Ciattarelli, a substantial chunk of Guadagno’s 38,290 statewide victory margin.

Ciattarelli is the early favorite in Monmouth due, in part, to Monmouth GOP Chairman Shaun Golden’s well-known antipathy to Steinhardt.

On the other hand, Steinhardt might have an edge in Ocean since former county GOP Chairman George Gilmore remains a free man while he continues to appeal his criminal conviction. Gilmore is close to Steinhardt braintrust Bill Stepien, and Gilmore continues to heavily influence county politics despite his legal woes. Back in March, he was widely credited for swinging a close NJ-03 convention contest to David Richter (another Stepien candidate).

Until the lines are settled? More Parkway corridor diner visits, scrambled eggs and hot coffee are most assuredly in both men’s futures.