OCEAN COUNTY – After months of infighting, Republicans have chosen David Richter to take on Congressman Andy Kim in November.
Richter received 20,948 votes and Kate Gibbs received 10,126 votes in the Primary Election. They were competing in the third Congressional District, which is made up of parts of Ocean and Burlington counties. The winner will challenge the incumbent to represent the district in the House of Representatives.
The two candidates had been lobbing shots at each other for months. They agreed on many matters of policy but they each challenged the other’s credibility. Gibbs accused Richter of being a failed businessman who cozied up to Joe Biden’s brother to get a construction deal in the Middle East. He was compared to Where’s Waldo, and painted as a district shopper who doesn’t care about the 3rd District and just rented a place to run in the election. Richter accused Gibbs of working for a union that raised costs of transportation projects and endorsed Democrats. She was compared to Snooki due to her youthful indiscretions of shoplifting and drug and alcohol charges.
Richter issued a statement thanking his supporters and hoping to grow more support.
“I’m not a politician, this is my first election, but I already know that running for Congress is tough, and it is only going to get tougher from here as we move on to challenge Andy Kim in the general election,” he said. “Just like in the primary race, we fully expect to be outspent in the general election, but that is where all of you will be even more important. We are building a grassroots campaign like this district has never seen before and I have no doubt that we will defeat Andy Kim.
“I would like to thank my opponent Kate Gibbs for her concession and to commend her for running a tough, hard-fought race,” he said. “I’m looking forward to earning the votes of Kate’s many supporters throughout the Third District and unifying the Republican Party as we work together to flip the district from blue to red this November.”
Kate Gibbs issued a statement after conceding the race.
“Tonight’s election didn’t have the outcome I had hoped for but I am extremely proud of the race we ran. 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,” she said. “I will always be grateful for the support of all those who stood by and with me.
“It’s the hundred year anniversary of women’s suffrage and, sadly, Alice Paul’s home has never been represented by a woman in Congress. While the loss hurts, I hope my campaign helps to inspire and encourage other women to challenge the good ‘ol boys club, run for office, and make sure their voices are heard. I want little girls to grow up believing they can come from humble beginnings and can serve in the hallowed halls of Congress,” she said.
In Ocean County, Richter received 16,637 votes and Gibbs received 4,345. There were 130 write-in votes.
Gibbs did better in Burlington County, where she used to be a Freeholder. She received 5,781 votes to Richter’s 4,311. There were 82 write-ins.
Approximately 31,000 Republicans voted in the 3rd District primary.
Congressman Andy Kim didn’t have a primary challenge, but voters still came out for him.
In Ocean County, Kim received 18,201 votes. There were 105 write-ins.
In Burlington County, Kim received 24,897 votes. There were 68 write-ins.
Approximately 43,000 Democrats voted in the 3rd District primary.
These figures came from the election board websites of the counties involved. The results will be unofficial until later this month.
Ocean County Clerk Scott Colabella said that while the voting is over, the counting is not.
The county will continue to tally any mail-in vote that comes in up until July 14, as long as it is postmarked by July 7, he said.
There were also provisional ballots that are still being checked. These are for people who voted in person, and they would need to be checked to make sure they didn’t also vote by mail.
“Mail in voting means voters don’t have to choose between their health and their democracy, a choice no one should ever have to make,” Kim said in a statement. “In the past few weeks, I’ve seen an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy for this campaign, and I think that showed at the ballot box yesterday with our impressive showing. I’ve spent every day since I was elected to Congress working for the people of New Jersey, and that’s how I plan on winning reelection- by showing up and earning their support.”