BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ – A former Hainesport mayor is the second Republican from Burlington County to announce his candidacy to challenge incumbent Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03). During his four terms of elected office to the Hainesport Township Committee, Tony Porto served as mayor twice. He also was the Township’s Republican Municipal Chairman from 2016 and 2018.

In announcing his campaign, Porto said that Kim reneged on his promises to his constituents by aligning himself with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Their liberal and radical viewpoints are not what the nation needs,” said Porto. “Kim’s and Pelosi’s approach to the issues is hurting the middle class in particular.”

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Porto, who works as the Tax Administrator for Hunterdon County, identified the middle-class bracket as those making less than $225K per year. “They should not be paying more than 20% in taxes,” Porto proclaimed.

While saying it’s time to “come back to the table for another round,” Porto pointed out some of the benefits of the current plan.  “Increasing the standard deduction to $24K worked,” he said. “Most people don’t need to itemize on their returns.”

On a local level, Porto said that his record speaks for itself. During his tenure with Hainesport, the Township saw $8.8M in debt reduction. In 2017, Hainesport cut property taxes.  The Township streamlined services, took advantage of grants, and shared equipment.

In addition to working on lowering taxes, Porto thinks the focus needs to be on immigration reform. He also supports President Donald Trump’s position as far as Iran. “We needed to let them know we are not playing around,” Porto said. “We are not going to allow our embassies to come under attack. However, the President’s also not trying to get us in any protracted wars.”

At eighteen years old, Porto won his first election to the Burlington County Republican Committee. In 2003, he was elected to the Hainesport Board of Education, where he focused on improving the quality of education for students while keeping property taxes under control. By 2005, Porto said the Board of Education was able to reduce property taxes while adding additional teachers in the classroom. 

When the primary elections come up, Porto faces two other Republican challengers to the CD-3 seat. Former Burlington County Freeholder Katie Gibbs announced her candidacy last November. Gibbs has not responded to requests for comment on her campaign. However, Gibbs used her Facebook page to thank Burlington County Republican Committee Chairman Sean Earlen and others for their endorsements.

Porto, who said he’s worked with Gibbs, doesn’t feel she’s right for the job. “Just over a year ago, she lost her seat in Burlington County to a liberal democrat who dropped out of the race one month before the election.”

The third challenger planning to unseat Kim comes from Ocean County and is the current mayor of Barnegat, John Novak. Last week, Novak welcomed Porto to the race, while pointing out that both Porto and Gibbs lost their bids for re-election in separate races. His press release offered information regarding both losses.

“I don’t know Novak,” shared Porto, in declining to comment on the Barnegat mayor’s candidacy.

Primary elections in New Jersey will be held on June 2, 2020. Other Republican candidates planning on running for the third congressional district face filing deadlines of March 30, 2020.