OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – The Ocean County Republican Organization’s screening committee plans to meet next month with a long list of candidates seeking the line for the upcoming primary election. The event is slated for Saturday, February 6, 2021.
As tradition has it, representatives of the committee conduct interviews and subsequently issue reports and recommendations for a slate of candidates for the primary election ballot. A tally of the ballots cast at the Ocean County Convention in March will determine who ultimately lands the GOP primary line endorsement.
Ocean County voters headed to the polls this year will consider candidates for a number of positions. This includes the Governor, NJ Senate, NJ Assembly, State Committeewoman, and State Committeeman.
County Freeholders have assumed a new title this year as County Commissioners. Current Director Gary Quinn is seeking reelection. Commissioner Gerry Little’s seat is also available.
The list of those seeking the screening committee’s endorsement for governor includes: Jack Ciattarelli, former Assemblyman, Joseph H. Vicari, OC Commissioner, Hirsh Singh, Brian Levine former Freeholder-Somerset and Joey Rullo.
All Ocean County Republicans candidates for the state senate, state assembly, and state committee are incumbents. Representative for the NJ State Senate are: Senator Christopher J. Connors – 9th District; Senator James W. Holzapfel – 10th District; Senator Samuel D. Thompson – 12th District and Senator Robert W. Singer – 30th District.
NJ State Assembly incumbents and candidates are: Assemblyman Brian E. Rump – 9th District. Assemblywoman Dianne C. Gove – 9th District, Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin – 10th District, Assemblyman John Catalano – 10th District. Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer -12th District. Assemblyman Robert D. Clifton - 12th District, Assemblyman Sean T. Kean – 30th District. And Assemblyman Ned Thomson – 30th District.
State Committeewoman – Virginia E. Haines and State Committeeman – Thomas F. Kelaher both seek endorsements as incumbents.
Several candidates have expressed an interest in the vacant seat available due to Little’s resignation. They are listed as follows:
John Bacchione, Councilman Berkeley Twp.
Bobbie Jo Crea, Committeewoman Little Egg Harbor
Mayor Lawrence Cuneo, Pine Beach
Mayor Peter Curatolo, Lacey Twp.
Shawn Denning, Ocean Twp.-Waretown;
Victor Finamore, Brick Twp.;
Lisa Hodgson-Henson, Surf City;
Andrew Kern, Council President-Jackson;
Sharon McKenna, Stafford;
Stephen Reid-Point Pleasant Beach
Michael A. Thulen, Sr. – Brick Township
Rolf J. Weber, Council Member Island Heights
Rory Wells – Manchester Township.
Two recommendations last year were rejected by voters at the Ocean County Convention last year. The screening committee advocated for Katie Gibbs over David Richter last year as the line candidate for the New Jersey’s third congressional district. Richter won the line at the convention and the GOP primary. He subsequently lost to Andy Kim, the incumbent Democrat.
Rik Metha won the screening committee’s recommendation for state senate. Ballots cast at the Ocean County Convention came out in favor of Hirsh Singh. Metha ultimately lost the senate race to another incumbent Democrat, Cory Booker.