MANAHAWKIN-Over two hundred Republicans from Stafford Township and around the state convened Monday night to endorse candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress in the 2020 Republican primary election.
By the end of the evening, the club had chosen to endorse Atlantic City conservative Hirsh Singh and former Hill International CEO David Richter. The decision comes just days after Ocean County Freeholders Virginia Haines and Garry Quinn endorsed convicted shoplifter Kate Gibbs for Congress and Obama era Democrat appointee Rikin Mehta for U.S. Senate.
The Stafford Republican Club, which took power after toppling the establishment club in 2018 stayed true to their conservative roots with their endorsement.
Singh has now won the endorsement of the powerful Berkeley Township Republican Club and is seeking the endorsement of Jackson Township and Toms River. He has received the endorsement of the Jackson Township Conservative Republican Club, but is now jockeying for the establishment party’s vote at the convention.
A growing establishment GOP strategy has emerged against Singh, from state-level Republicans including William Palatucci, Chris Christie and other North Jersey Republicans who have backed Mehta, whose career in the pharmaceutical industry fits with the business interests of those Republicans. Mehta is a supporter of “protecting America’s opioid supply chain” for patients and feels the “war on opioids” during a national opioid abuse epidemic is nothing more than, “government overstepping”. Virginia Haines who also serves as the Republican National Committeewoman for New Jersey has endorsed Mehta, who switched to the Republican party in 2016 after voting in the Democrat Presidential primary.
Richter has launched an aggressive campaign against the party-backed nominee for Congress, Kate Gibbs. Gibbs, who was the odds on favorite heading into last week was railroaded after the Asbury Park Press published a news story detailing her many run-ins with the law, including drug possession, shoplifting, public drinking and lawsuits alleging she did not pay her bills, some of which were as recent as 2014.
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Gibb’s and Mehta’s campaigns are being run by Chris Russell, a New Jersey GOP establishment operative from Jackson Township who has supported many blue-tinted Republican candidates at all levels in New Jersey.