BARNEGAT/WARETOWN, NJ – For many Republican voters in Ocean and Burlington counties, the third congressional seat is the hottest race on the primary ballot. Last night, candidates Kate Gibbs and David Richter tried to win over voters in a virtual debate.  

 The victor’s success may be reflected when the polls close on July 7th.  The winner then faces incumbent Congressman Andy Kim (D-3) and Barnegat resident and Independent candidate Marty Weber.

Stephanie Faughnan, Editor of TAPintoBarnegat/Waretown and Matt Rooney, Founder of SaveJersey moderated the debate, asking a series of twenty questions. On most of the issues, the candidates shared somewhat mirrored responses. However, that was not necessarily the case when things got personal.

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A voter from Toms River wanted to know David Richter’s position on late term abortions. The moderators expanded the question to ask both parties about their pro-life views. An abbreviated version of Gibbs’ reply made it into a Richter press release the moment the debate ended.

“I think that if there are going to be abortions, they should be done as early as possible in the pregnancy,” said Richter, citing Roe v. Wade.  “Late term abortions should not be allowed at all unless the life of the mother is at stake.”

Gibbs shared the fact that she was raised Catholic. that her faith, and the sanctity of life are all important to her.  The New Jersey Right to Life has not endorsed, but recommended Gibbs as a candidate. Pressed for an answer, Gibbs provided occasions she found termination of a pregnancy should be made available.

“Abortion is only acceptable during the first trimester, rape, incest, and life of mother,” Gibbs stated.

The Richter campaign’s press release stops the Gibbs’ quote at the “first trimester.” and characterizes his opponent’s response as a “fib.”

Both candidates maintained their composure, while throwing spars back and forth about their credentials and integrity. By now, registered Republicans in the district have already received their share of campaign literature to surmise that neither of the two think the other can win the seat in Congress.

Republican primary voters in the third congressional district who want to meet the candidates should absolutely take the time to watch Richter and Gibbs debate. It appears this will be the only opportunity to see them face off before the primary election.