TOMS RIVER-One of former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs’ most staunch and prominent supporters, Ocean County Freeholder and New Jersey RNC Chairwoman Virginia Haines has announced she is abandoning her support for Gibbs.
Haines led the Ocean County GOP’s endorsement for Gibbs, according to insiders, because Haines would have liked to see a woman run for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District.
“David is the best candidate to defeat Andy Kim and deliver the results that the residents of Ocean County and the entire Third District deserve,” Haines said in a release sent to the New Jersey Globe. “Over the last few months, David has been a fixture at events throughout Ocean County and we have gotten to know him well.”
Haines who is running for re-election for the RNC committee along with former adversary William Palatucci might have her hands full with her own primary. This week, Palatucci learned he has a challenger after news broke that he was paid $21,000 to Tom Kean, Jr. and profiteering off political campaigns, according to the Globe.
Insiders are now suggesting a challenger to Haines may be announcing in the coming days to run alongside John Sette, who served 17 years as the Morris County GOP Chairman.
Palatucci lost some favor among Republicans in the southern part of the state after he tried to sink Haines in 2016. Last week, he was accused of strongarming 7th Congressional District District candidate Rosemary Becchi into withdrawing from that race.
Haines had continued to support Gibbs days after the Asbury Park Press released a bombshell report about the freeholder’s sordid past. She fully endorsed Gibbs, along with the Ocean County GOP screening committee. Haines then pushed for Gibbs ahead of last week’s floor vote along with other prominent establishment allies. Those included Assemblyman Greg P. McGuckin, Ocean County Freeholder Frank Holman, Assemblyman John Catalano and others.
Richter defeated Gibbs in that vote.