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Harry Hurley this morning reported on the walk-back of Republican endorsements of David Richter for Congress, supplanted by thumbs up signs of support for U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the CD2 incumbent who changed from Democrat to Republican under the political auspices of President Donald J. Trump.
Hurley reported that Galloway Twp. Republicans and Somers Point Councilman James Toto threw in with Van Drew, after having originally backed Richter.
The Republican candidate said he intended to soldier on with his candidacy.
“Given the threats that are being made to Republican party leaders and elected officials, it is hardly surprising that most of them are falling in line behind Jeff Van Drew,” Richter said. “I have had many, many people call me and apologize because they want to support me but just can’t because they are afraid of repercussions from the party. Obviously I am very disappointed that a lifelong Republican is being treated this way by my own party to make room for a lifelong Democrat, but I also understand that everyone wants to be supportive of President Trump.
“I continue to believe that in the privacy of the voting booth, without anyone looking over their shoulders, most Republican voters are going to have a hard time voting for Van Drew,” he added. “But you really have to ask the question, if Van Drew is such a shoe-in to win the nomination why are they working so hard to make sure there is no other choice for voters on the ballot?”
He said he plans to continue in the race so that voters have a choice.
“I have talked to lots of Republican voters over the past month and while the leadership is falling in line behind Van Drew, most voters have not,” Richter said.
For him the case is simple and straight-forward.
“If you look at his voting record in Congress last year, you will see that he voted as a liberal Democrat across the board,” Richter told InsiderNJ.
Richter is the former CEO of global construction management firm Hill International. A lifelong Republican, he grew up in and has spent most of his life living and working in South Jersey. He earned two bachelor’s degrees and a law degree from Penn as well as master’s degrees from Oxford and Harvard. Richter and his wife Michelle, who have been married for 20 years, are the parents of four daughters.
In October of 2019, prior to Van Drew changing parties, Richter filed his third quarter financial report with the Federal Election Commission and announced raising $413,000 during the quarter and finished with $390,000 cash-on-hand. The Republican candidate brought in $113,000 from contributors in just seven weeks since announcing his candidacy on August 12th. He also added $300,000 of his own personal funds to the campaign.
“It is imperative that our party nominates a candidate who can run a well-funded, first-class campaign against Jeff Van Drew, who is one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Congress,” said Richter.
Trump won the district by five points in 2016 and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin won it by ten points it in 2018, while Van Drew barely won the district despite outspending his Republican opponent by more than six-to-one, Richter noted at the time; again, before Van Drew became a Republican.