David Richter, the former CEO of a construction company, emerged Wednesday as the presumptive winner of a closely watched Republican primary in South Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District and will face freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim.
Elections officials still have to count thousands of ballots in an election that was mostly conducted by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. But early returns showed a wide enough margin for Richter that his opponent, Kate Gibbs, conceded the race around midnight. Richter led with 67% of the vote to Gibbs’ 33% in early returns.
“Tonight’s election didn’t have the outcome I had hoped for, but I am extremely proud of the race we ran,” Gibbs, a former Burlington County freeholder, said in a statement. “While I move on to the next chapter of my life, I will continue to fight for what is right and stand up for conservative principles.”
Gibbs was the early Republican favorite in the 3rd Congressional District. But the race was upended when Richter abandoned his earlier bid to challenge first-term Rep. Jeff Van Drew in the 2nd District. Van Drew, a longtime Democrat, broke with his party over the impeachment of President Donald Trump and became a Republican. Trump allies then largely cleared the GOP primary field for Van Drew, pushing Richter to run in another district.
Kim, who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2018 by less than two percentage points and is expected to face a close race again, has built a formidable war chest with $3.5 million in his campaign account.
“I’m running for reelection to continue serving my hometown community,” Kim said Tuesday night. “My parents taught me that service isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life.”
Richter, the former chief executive of Hill International, lent his campaign $600,000 and spent most of it. Gibbs’ campaign spent about $200,000 and was backed by an outside group that spent $225,000 on anti-Richter ads, according to Federal Election Commission records.
His victory was powered by huge margins in Ocean County, where he had the support of the local GOP. He had 79% of the vote there. Gibbs had a narrower lead in her home county of Burlington.
South Jersey Democrats are highly motivated to beat freshman U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd,…
The district spans Burlington and Ocean counties. Burlington County, which provided close to 60% of the district’s voters in 2018, has skewed liberal of late, while Ocean remains solidly conservative. Forty percent of voters in the district are registered without a party affiliation.
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign arm, said Richter “will be a breath of fresh air by giving voters a representative who actually follows through on his campaign promises to put them first.”
“Andy Kim sold voters a false bill of goods when he promised he’d be a pragmatic problem solver and instead went to Washington and became a rubber stamp for the extreme socialist agenda of House Democrats,” Emmer said in a statement.
NJ Primary Results 2020 as of July 13
|Atlantic City||Mayor||Marty Small||D||3,326|
|Atlantic City||Mayor||Pamela Thomas-Fields||D||1,627|
|Atlantic City||Mayor||James Whitehead||D||243|
|Atlantic City||Mayor||Thomas Forkin||R||403|
|Atlantic County||Sheriff||Eric Scheffler||D||15,985|
|Atlantic County||Sheriff||Joseph O'Donoghue||R||11,029|
|Atlantic County||Surrogate||Stephen Dicht||D||12,991|
|Atlantic County||Surrogate||Levi Fox||D||2,877|
|Atlantic County||Surrogate||James Curcio||R||11,174|
|Atlantic County||Freeholder||Caren Fitzpatrick||D||15,660|
|Atlantic County||Freeholder||Celeste Fernandez||D||15,701|
|Atlantic County||Freeholder||John Risley Jr||R||11,213|
|Atlantic County||Freeholder||James Toto||R||10,876|
|Atlantic County||Freholder D3||Andrew Parker||R||2,187|
|Atlantic County||Freholder D3||Thelma Witherspoon||D||3,184|
|Barnegat Township||Township Committee||Alfonso Cirulli||R||1,668|
|Barnegat Township||Township Committee||Joseph Marte||R||1,662|
|Barnegat Township||Township Committee||Charles Cunliffe||D||1,644|
|Barnegat Township||Township Committee||Peggy Houle||D||1,691|
|Cape May County||Freeholder||Elizabeth Casey||D||5,504|
|Cape May County||Freeholder||Brendan Sciarra||D||5,285|
|Cape May County||Freeholder||Will Morey||R||6,624|
|Cape May County||Freeholder||Jeffrey Pierson||R||6,535|
|Lacey Township||Township Committee||Nicholas Juliano||R||1,980|
|Lacey Township||Township Committee||Bill Stemmle||D||1,286|
|Lakewood||Township Committee||Michael D’Elia||R||4,805|
|Lakewood||Township Committee||Hector Fuentes||R||4,632|
|Lakewood||Township Committee||Harold Herskowitz||R||1,391|
|Lakewood||Township Committee||Ray Coles||D||2,110|
|Lakewood||Township Committee||Mordy Gross||D||1,977|
|Little Egg Harbor||Township Committee||Ray Gormley||R||1,632|
|Little Egg Harbor||Township Committee||John Kehm||R||1,603|
|Little Egg Harbor||Township Committee||Gabriel Franco||D||1,273|
|Little Egg Harbor||Township Committee||Shaun Moran||D||1,264|
|Lower Township||Mayor||Christopher South||D||1,323|
|Lower Township||Mayor||Frank Sippel||R||1,455|
|Middle Township||Township Committee||Bob Jackson||D||987|
|Middle Township||Township Committee||Timothy Donohue||R||1,091|
|Ocean County||County Clerk||Scott Colabella||R||39,146|
|Ocean County||County Clerk||Kathy Russell||D||31,413|
|Ocean County||Freeholder||Joe Vicari||R||38,731|
|Ocean County||Freeholder||Helen Dela Cruz||D||31,398|
|Ocean Township||Township Committee||Ken Baulderstone||R||1,019|
|Ocean Township||Township Committee||Rita Kopacz||D||567|