CD2 Flashpoint: Atlantic County GOP Convention Underway in Atlantic City


ATLANTIC CITY – Bulldozed to the shore’s edge, the wreckage of an arguably somewhat sordid vision that was once what might have been the larger degraded dimensions of Atlantic City, played benign host to the county GOP this morning, where party members had the task of sizing up a successor to retiring U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2).

LoBo opted out of running amid a tremulous and divided atmosphere upchucked by the Presidency of

Atlantic County Freeholder Frank Formica lapped up the endorsement of the organization for another countywide term.

Donald J. Trump. Harried candidates have the early hurdle of either owning or disowning a controversial President, a thorny obstacle at best that the long-serving Republican Congressman apparently didn’t relish.

But the season hasn’t diminished the competitive spirits of those in the CD2 game, as AC Republican Party Chairman Keith Davis (pictured above) got his convention started right on time at a packed, standing room only Atlantic City Country Club.

The candidates mingled to one side of the central podium where Davis and then state Senator Chris Brown (R-2) took turns addressing the crowd.

“My only function is to serve each and every one of you and your families,” declared Brown.

Soon, they would consider the Republican rivals for the 2nd Congressional seat and perhaps offer more clarity to a very divided field.

Singh, left, and Chris Faniciello.

Linwood engineer Hirsh Singh has three lines so far (Camden, Ocean and Burlington).

James Toto of Somers Point has Salem.

Robert Turkavage of Brigantine has Cumberland.

Brian Fitzherbert has Glioucester;

and former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (R-1) of Vineland has Cape May.

Party-members celebrated LoBo and retiring Egg Harbor Twp. Mayor Sonny McCullough throughout the program. Atlantic County Executive Denny Levinson took a turn with the microphone. He blamed AC losses last year in part on lame duck Republican Governor Chris Christie limping out of office with a 17% approval rating.

Turkavage, far left.

“I’m still four years younger than Joe Biden,” he cracked, against the backdrop of President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden trash talking each other on twitter and in interviews – everywhere but in the ring, the appropriate metaphor in this town where for years the sweet science propped the gambling mecca, even if the Atlantic City Express once sustained a first round knockout loss to Mike Tyson.

First up among the U.S. Senate candidate, business owner Brian Goldberg bashed establishment choice Bob Hugin at the front of the room.

He addressed his rivals directly.

“You’re not going to win,” he told the retired pharma executive, who’s pledged putting $40 million into the contest in an effort to oust Menendez. “People see you as another member of the swamp that needs draining.

“You might beat me in June, but you’re not going to win Bob Menendez in the fall,” he added. “Before you waste your time and your fortune, get behind one candidate, and that’s me.”

For his part, Hugin, on his way to nabbing the backing of the party here, focused on Menendez.

“He’s violated the public trust,” the U.S. Senate hopeful said.

“I will stand up and support the president every time he says good things for New Jersey,” he added. “I’m not going to be like Bob Menendez, who needs a VISA every time he goes south of 195.”

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