TOMS RIVER, NJ – The Ocean County Republican Organization held their 2020 Convention last night and delivered their endorsements for two contested seats. Hirsh Singh defeated Rik Mehta in the United States Senate race by a vote of 160 to 71. David Richter gained the party line in the county by beating Kate Gibbs in the third congressional race. Richter’s delegate count was 68; Gibbs was 60.
“There is no other part of this state that can beat Ocean County…it has always been the best for policy,” said Singh after receiving his first county endorsement. “…This is my home and you fought for me. Just watch how I fight for you (against incumbent Senator Cory Booker.)”
Richter changed the CD-3 race when he announced his intentions to move into Ocean County to turn the seat from blue to red. He abandoned his goal of pursuing the CD-2 candidacy after then Democrat Jeff Van Drew switched parties. Meanwhile, Richter says he’s no stranger to the third congressional district.
“As you’ve learned, I’m a fighter, and I don’t mind uphill battles,” shared Richter. “I am going to take this fight all the way to November. We’re going to take Andy Kim and make him a one-time congressman.”
Although Barnegat Mayor John Novak received a nomination from the floor for the congressional seat, he declined to accept it. All this means is that Novak relinquished attempts to secure county party endorsement. Novak will still appear on the primary ballot when voters go to the polls in June.
Anthony Porto, a former Hainesport mayor, was not nominated for endorsement. He previously indicated that he was not invited to the convention and would not appear at the Ocean County Republican gathering.
The votes cast by GOP municipal leaders were in direct opposition to the recommendations made by the organization’s screening committee. Last month the nine-member committee appointed by Chairman Frank Holman unanimously selected Mehta and Gibbs as candidates. At that time, Novak said he wasn’t leaving unless the race unless God told him to do otherwise.
“Last night’s vote called into question the power and prestige of the self-appointed elite and the screening committee,” said Novak. “The results showed the organization does not have a ring in its nose – and is not being led by the Illuminati.”
In announcing his intentions to unseat incumbent Congressman Andy Kim, Novak recalled the time he was labeled the “Rogue Republican.” The Barnegat mayor is not sure if what he’s been saying for years is now resonating with others – or something otherwise revealed to them.
“I am clearly a rogue and a Republican,” Novak shared. “However, it now seems the rogues have started congealing.”
Meanwhile, the Ocean County endorsement has Richter and Gibbs securing the party line in two separate counties. Burlington County awarded her their support in December of last year.
The Ocean County GOP Convention was well-attended, including many high power figures. Among them was former Chairman George Gilmore, forced to relinquish his position, who visibly networked with attendees. Gilmore was recently sentenced to serve time in federal prison after his criminal conviction. Often referred to as a “political power boss,” Gilmore has appealed his sentence.
Other Republicans running within Ocean County do not have opposition, and there was, therefore, no reason for endorsement votes. The June primary should prove to be an exciting race within the party itself.