TOMS RIVER-Republican National Committee Chairwoman Virginia Haines, 78, of Toms River announced via a press release that she has officially dropped her endorsements of Kate Gibbs for U.S. Congress in the Third Congressional District and Rikin Mehta for U.S. Senate.
Haines had lobbied intensely for the endorsements and was able to convince the 9 member Ocean County GOP Executive Committee to issue a formal endorsement for the couple prior to the March 2020 county nomination convention. On the day of the convention, Ocean County’s rank and file Republicans overturned Haines and the county committee’s nomination by overwhelmingly choosing Hirsh Singh for U.S. Senate and David Richter for U.S. Congress in the 3rd Congressional District.
The defeat of the county executive board by rank and file Republicans was a bitter pill to swallow for Haines and Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman, but days after the election, Haines and others who initially backed Mehta and Gibbs officially dropped their endorsements, lining up behind Singh and Richter who will now be on the ballot line with President Donald J. Trump.
“Singh is the future of the Republican Party,” Haines said. “The whole Freeholder Board has watched him work tirelessly to earn our endorsement and he is dedicated to helping the people of New Jersey,” said Freeholder Chairman Kelly.
“Singh is our only chance to beat Cory Booker and understands the real needs that affect our county from ensuring we take care of our senior citizens to ensuring the county has the resources needed to maintain and develop our infrastructure,” Haines added. Haines represents Ocean County which has one of the largest senior citizen populations in the state and is widely recognized as the most powerful county GOP organization in New Jersey.
The defeat sent shockwaves around the state as Mehta received endorsements from Republican organizations in New Jersey’s most blue corners and gave pause to GOP establishment campaign management firm Checkmate Wins, headed by party acclaimed strategist Chris Russell, of Jackson Township. Russell’s defeat follows shocking defeats of his past state-level clients, including Kim Guadagno for Governor and Bob Hugin for U.S. Senate.
Despite a blistering Asbury Park Press revelation that documented a shoplifting arrest, drug possession charges, disorderly persons offense and multiple contractual litigations for non-payment, Haines did not change her support for Gibbs until after Richter won the nomination from the floor at the convention.