By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Congressional candidate Mike Halfacre failed to capture home-county backing from his party Monday night, a hit that shows dwindling support for the Fair Haven mayor’s bid to unseat 12-district incumbent Democrat Rush Holt.
Meanwhile, local newspaper publisher Diane Gooch gained traction in her own bid for a Congressional seat.
Monmouth County’s Republican screening committee voted 22-13 in support of Halfacre’s main opponent, Scott Sipprelle, who already has won GOP support in Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties, according to PolitickerNJ.com.
The party snub is considered by some pol watchers to be the coup de gras to Halfacre’s run. Despite Halfacre’s head start in the campaign against Holt, plus the support of many Tea Party groups, local blogger Matt Rooney, of The Save Jersey blog, and an opinion editor at PolitickerNJ posit that millionare front-runner Sipprelle has all but wrapped up his fight against Halfacre to face Holt in the November election.
Halfacre’s camp was mum Tuesday as to the future of their campaign.
“We’re going to sit down and figure out what we’re going to do,” said Tom Fitzsimmons, campaign spokesman. “We’re going to take a day or two. As soon as we know anything we will let people know.”
A third candidate for the District 12 seat, Dave Corsi, appears to be a non-factor in the race with negligible support.
Two River Times Publisher Diane Gooch, who’s running against Highlands Mayor Anna Little for Democrat Frank Pallone’s sixth-district seat, garnered Monmouth GOP support over Little by a vote of 28-10.
Though she lives in Rumson, which is in the 12th, Gooch also won the Middlesex County organization line — quite handily, by a vote of 104-39.