TOMS RIVER-The New Jersey GOP has an exciting opportunity to back a diverse ticket for U.S. Senate and Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. Indian-American engineer and conservative Hirsh Singh is running for Senate against Cory Booker and now former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs has laid down the official challenge against Nancy Pelosi ally Andy Kim.
Kim represents New Jersey’s 3rd district encompassing parts of Burlington and Ocean Counties. His slim victory over the wealthy self-funded former insurance executive Tom MacArthur was a battle that not only crossed party lines, but also generational lines. Republicans in New Jersey in recent years have relied on middle-aged men with ties to big pharma and insurance companies.
In 2020, they can break that mold and continue 2019’s state midterm election success into the new year.
Both are Millenials. Hirsh is a 33-year old that hails from Atlantic City. He’s a lifelong Republican and conservative that has made huge political gains since announcing his election run earlier this year. Gibbs is a 33-year-old woman who has already served on the Board of Chosen Freeholders in Burlington County and has a huge base that spans both aisles of the political spectrum.
Gibbs would easily defeat Kim in the Republican stronghold of Ocean County, despite that he was able to raise $1.2 million from his Democrat donors nationwide. Gibbs’ popularity in Burlington County could easily cut into the 59% of votes Kim garnered there in 2018.
Both Singh and Gibbs represent the future of the Republican Party in New Jersey, not relics of the past.
Both have opponents. Ocean County lawyer John Novak has announced his intent to run in the CD-3 congressional primary against Gibb.
Despite calling for younger and more diverse candidates in his party, Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman said today in an interview with David Wildstein that Gibbs may have more challengers in the primary, perhaps one from his own Ocean County GOP stable.
“There may be some more people who will be emerging,” Holman told Wildstein. “I would prefer an Ocean County candidate. I’m waiting to see if anyone will run.”
Holman’s comment which came days after Novak’s announcement may signal the party’s non-interest in Novak. Of Gibbs, Holman said, “I think she’s a great candidate.” Holman would not offer an endorsement to the single mother from Burlington County. Burlington County Republican Chairman Sean Earlen has already endorsed Gibbs.
Novak, on the other hand, could be facing the wrath of the party chairman who has been focused on keeping anyone who disagrees in the political gutter. Novak, an anti-establishment candidate in the 2016 Ocean County Freeholder election went against the party and ran as an independent unsuccessfully.
Holman told Wildstein, “There’s no penalty.”
Republicans in New Jersey are now running on a two-year deficit when it comes to key state and federal campaigns. It started with the loss of Kim Guadagno to Phil Murphy in 2017, followed by a year in which the state lost all but one seat in Congress in 2018. That year, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, one of the most seemingly unelectable politician defeated pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin.
One thing is clear in CD-3, it’s a tale of two worlds. On the eastern side of the district, Republicans rule the roost. In the west, the district is extremely diverse.
Singh is not without his own competition, but so far those competitors come with political baggage that could doom their candidacies.
Stuart Meissner and Rik Mehta, both running for Senate are newly minted Republicans with deep ties to the Democrat party.
Singh has plenty of political insiders in New Jersey talking about him and right now is the front runner in the campaign against Booker.
Republican National Committeewoman Ginny Haines said “Hirsh is very bright, talented and determined. He is doing all the right things … He understands what [he has] to do and the road that lies ahead of him.”
Republican National Committeeman William Palatucci said “Hirsh has impressed me over the past two years as being serious about his policy views as well as his ability to be a candidate for public office. In many ways, Hirsh is the future of the Republican Party. His passion for public policy and desire to serve the state will impress many. He has my support.”
Hudson County Chairman Jose Arango said, “I believe Hirsh Singh is a great candidate that will show that the New Jersey GOP is the real party of inclusion.”