CD11 Flashpoint: JAG Officer Ghee of Totowa Jumps into GOP Primary for Frelinghuysen Seat

Republicans will have a primary in CD11, as Totowa attorney Antony E. Ghee today enters the race with the support of Essex County Republican Committee Chairman Al Barlas and Peter Murphy, the GOP chairman in Totowa.

Ghee’s announcement of his candidacy with the support of portions of the northeastern portion of the district comes a day after Assemblyman Tony Bucco, Jr. (R-25) declared his commitment to staying in the New Jersey Legislature, and backed fellow Morris County resident Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26).

Until today, Webber was the only declared Republican in the contest to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11).

Based on a letter he wrote to county committee members wherein he characterized himself as an “outsider,” and posited a question about whether the party should nominate a “career politician,” it is clear that Ghee – newly registered as a Republican – means to position himself in the primary as an alternative to what he will characterize as Trenton insider Webber. With military experience on his resume, he offers the GOP a counterpunch to retired Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill, who has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

A major in the U.S. Army Reserve, Ghee serves as the Headquarters Commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command in Gaithersburg, Maryland and previously served as the Brigade Judge Advocate at the 77th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Dix and as a member of the General Officer Support Team at the Pentagon.  

A native of Trenton, the candidate has over 20 years of experience as an attorney, investor and risk management professional. He currently works at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, where he directs the firm’s Global Wealth & Investment Management Chief Investment Office. He previously practiced law domestically and internationally with Clifford Chance – a leading global law firm – where his practiced focused on securities law, mergers and acquisitions and investment management. He has also worked at a hedge fund with more than $1 billion of assets and served as a member of its Investment Committee.

A published author, he wrote a book called Fraud, Lies & Greed.

Ghee earned a Masters of Law (LL.M.) in Securities & Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center, a JD from Howard University School of Law, and a BS in Business Administration with honors from Virginia Union University. He and his wife Michele and their two children – Taylor and Jordan – live in Totowa.

Webber stands astride 28 towns in Morris – seven more than those in the combined portion of Essex and Passaic situated in the 11th. But unlike Passaic and Essex, no party line exists in Morris – at least not at present.

“I enthusiastically endorse Tony Ghee for Congress in District 11 because his story is the All-American story of success,” said Peter Murphy, chairman of the Totowa Municipal Republican Committee. “As a proud husband, father and member of the US Army, Tony is a guy who came from nothing and through hard work and dedication made a better life for himself and his family. Having a dynamic candidate like Tony running with our organization this year in Passaic County not only helps keep this seat in Republican hands but helps all of our candidates up and down the ballot. I couldn’t be prouder of Totowa’s own Tony Ghee for stepping up to this challenge and we in Passaic County are proud to endorse him.”  

“When Peter Murphy and I met with Tony, we were immediately impressed with his life’s story, his commitment to his family, and dedication to our Country,” said Al Barlas, Chairman of the Essex County Republican Committee. “His story of success, both personal and professional, through perseverance and hard work is one that will resonate with voters of all political beliefs. Tony’s life story is not a republican or democrat one, rather an American one we can all relate to. To have a candidate come forward of Tony’s caliber, with his life story and service to our country, it is a dream for the Republican Party. It’s not about where the candidate is from in this election that will matter, it is what that person is about. Tony is the game-changer we are proud to support.”  

Democrats also face a primary, with Sherrill backed by the Democratic committees in the sections of those four counties that together comprise the 11th District, with counselor Tamara Harris and Mitchell Cobert also declared candidates, albeit off the line. 

Below is a list of endorsements for Tony Ghee for Congress:   

Al Barlas, Chairman Essex County Republican Committee 

Peter Murphy, Chairman Totowa Municipal Republican Committee 

John Traier, Chairman Passaic County Republican Committee 

John Sette, Fmr. Chairman Morris County Republican Committee 

Sen. Kristin Corrado, Senator District 40  

Asm. Kevin Rooney, Assemblyman District 40 

Asm. Christopher DePhillips, Assemblyman District 40  

 

Essex:   

Mary Devon O’Brien, Vice-Chairwoman Essex County Republican Committee 

Russell Mollica, Chairman Bloomfield Republican Municipal Committee 

Luis Linares, Fmr. Chairman Bloomfield Republican Municipal Committee 

Shane Berger, Fmr. Member Bloomfield Board of Education 

Gordon Lawshe, Chairman Caldwell Republican Municipal Committee 

John Cascarano, Fmr. Caldwell Councilman  

Peter Tanella, Mayor of Cedar Grove; Chairman Cedar Grove Republican Municipal Committee 

Edward Abott, Chairman Essex Fells Municipal Republican Committee  

Anthony Campisi, Chairman Fairfield Republican Municipal Committee 

Lee Holtzman, Chairman Livingston Republican Municipal Committee 

Michael Rieber, Fmr. Mayor of Livingston  

Cynthia Santomauro, Council President Boro of North Caldwell  

Walter Smith, Nutley Republican Municipal Committee 

Mary Comito, Roseland Republican Municipal Committee 

Christopher Smith, Chairman West Caldwell Republican Municipal Committee 

Joseph Tempesta, Mayor of West Caldwell  

Mark Meyerowitz, Chairman West Orange Republican Municipal Committee 

Jay Sniatkowski, Chairman Verona Republican Municipal Committee  

 

Passaic:   

Walter Davidson Jr, Acting Passaic County Clerk  

John Capo, State Committeeman Passaic County Republican Organization 

Susan Enderly, State Committeewoman Passaic County Republican Organization  

Brendan Murphy, Finance Chairman Passaic County Republican Organization  

Joe Cupoli, Chairman Clifton Municipal Republican Organization 

Joni Huston, Hawthorne Municipal Republican Organization

Donald Radcliffe, Chairman Little Falls Municipal Republican Organization 

Randy George, Chairman North Haledon Municipal Republican Organization 

Ramon Leon, Chairman Paterson Municipal Republican Organization 

Tim Troast, Chairman Pompton Lakes Municipal Republican Organization 

John Speer, Mayor of Ringwood; Chairman Ringwood Municipal Republican Organization 

John Coiro, Mayor of Totowa 

Michael Marotta, Chairman Wayne Municipal Republican Organization 

Chris Vergano, Mayor of Wayne 

Matthew Conlin, Chairman West Milford Municipal Republican Organization 

Ernest Sesso, Chairman Woodland Park Municipal Republican Organization 

Giovanni D’Ambrosio, Member Passaic Valley Regional High School 

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