Guenther a Longshot for NJ Assembly Seat

Atlantic County freeholder John Risley and Brigantine mayor Phil Guenther won the Atlantic County Republican organization line for State Assembly in the politically competitive 2nd district, defeating Somers Point councilman James Toto.

They are now preparing to take on incumbents Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and John Armato (D-Buena Vista).

Two other candidates, Atlantic County freeholder Frank Formica and Ventnor mayor Beth Holtzman, had already dropped out of the race.

Risley had been running with Toto.

The district had 14,909 more Democrats than Republicans, but the 2nd is amongst the most politically competitive in the state despite the registration edge.  It is also one of two districts in the state with a legislative delegation split between both parties.

Republican Chris Brown (R-Ventnor) moved up from the Assembly to the Senate in 2017, defeating interim State Sen. Colin Bell (D-Margate) by 3,544 votes (53.5%-46.5%).  Bell had won a special election convention in two months earlier following the death of incumbent James Whelan (D-Atlantic City).

Armato flipped Brown’s open Assembly seat, defeating Republican Vince Sera, a Brigantine councilman, by 4,869 votes.

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