WALL – In a critical first test of the primary season here, CD4 candidate Josh Welle has prevailed in his quest for the coveted Monmouth County Democratic Party line.
He beat Jim Keady for the line.
The final tally was 114 to 71, or 60-40%.
A third candidate, Mike Keeling, dropped out of the contest just prior to voting and threw his support to Keady.
“We are going to take back the House of Representatives,” Welle said in his victory speech. “Let’s get to work. Let’s go.”
The Keady Campaign will fight on.
“Absolutely,” Keady Campaign Manager Ryan Hughes told InsiderNJ. “This is the closest race the Monmouth County Party has had in years, and this is the first of three steps, prior to the June 5th Primary. Jim showed today that he has significant support within the party establishment, and clearly has the overwhelming support of the grassroots voters in the Fighting 4th District.”
The Mercer and Ocean conventions remain.
The IBEW Local 400 Hall was packed as delegates turned out to vote for the candidate in what has been a closely watched contest for the right to go up against U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), the dean of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation.
Democrats feel galvanized by what they see as President Donald J. Trump’s poor and unruly stewardship of the country, and they want to make that stick to Smith. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is targeting CD4 in this midterm election, along with other New Jersey seats currently held by Republicans, including CD2, CD43, CD11 and CD7.
“There’s definitely something happening,” said delegate Sean Byrnes, a former freeholder candidate. “Of course, given the district, it will take an avalanche to beat Smith.”