Republicans on the June 5 primary ballot. Top row: Jay Webber, Peter de Neufville, Antony Ghee. Bottom row: Patrick Allocco, Martin Hewitt.
It’s six weeks till Primary Tuesday. Do you know who’s on the ballot for the 11th District congressional race? Or what they’ve been saying about the issues? We’re here to help with Primary Primer, a series of posts providing a quick, informative look at the 11th District race.
Our first two installments cover the basic background on the candidates, Democratic and Republican. The next posts will outline what they’ve said about key issues. (Here is Part 1.)
Part 2: The Republican candidates vying for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.
Date declared: May 26, 2017 (as an independent); July 7, 2017 (as a Republican)
Lives In: Morris Township
Background: An attorney who serves as liaison to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging, Hewitt originally announced that he would run in the 11th as an independent. Two months later, he switched his standing from unaffiliated to Republican and re-focused his campaign as a primary challenge to GOP incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen. He signed a lease on an apartment in Morris Township at the end of 2017. Hewitt has said he wants to represent “moderate and pragmatic New Jersey values” on the GOP side of the aisle.
Quote: “I believe in neither big government or small government. I believe in efficient government.” (Campaign website)
Date declared: February 3, 2018
Lives In: Morris Plains
Background: Raised in Passaic County, Webber has represented District 26 in the State Assembly for the past decade and was chairman of the New Jersey Republican Committee from 2009-11. He is known for extremely conservative views: anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment, for example. The first Republican to enter the race after Frelinghuysen announced his retirement, Webber quickly came out swinging against what he termed the “angry intimidation” of citizens critical of the policies of the current GOP-held Congress and the Trump White House.
Quote: “I ran on my record as a true conservative and people like it when you say you're going to do what you promise to do." (June 2017, after GOP legislative primary)
Antony ‘Tony’ Ghee
Date declared: February 21, 2018
Lives In: Totowa
Background: Born in Trenton, Ghee is a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, serving as headquarters commander of the Army Reserve Legal Command in Gaithersburg, Md., and holds law degrees from Howard University and Georgetown University. Ghee registered as a Republican just before his announcement. His candidacy has been backed by dozens of GOP politicians in Passaic and Essex counties, such as Totowa Republican chairman Peter Murphy and Essex County Republican Committee chair Al Barlas.
Quote: “Do we nominate a career politician … or do we seize this opportunity to do something bold and energize our party heading into the general election?” (Candidacy announcement, 2/21/18)
Date declared: March 6, 2018
Lives In: Morris Township
Background: A former concert promoter, Allocco says he plans to “use audience-participation technology to let constituents tell him how to vote in Congress.” In 2012, he made headlines when Angolan government police detained him and his son at gunpoint in connection with a dispute with a local promoter over a canceled show. Fifty days later, they were allowed to return home after appeals by the U.S. Ambassador to Angola and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.
Quote: “You can vote on American Idol, Dancing With the Stars and The Voice, but you can’t vote on taxes, guns, health care and immigration.” (New Jersey Globe interview, 3/22/18)
Peter de Neufville
Date declared: April 2, 2018
Lives In: Mendham Township
Background: De Neufville has served as chairman of the board at Voltaix, a manufacturer of materials for the semiconductor industry, and has also been a U.S. Navy reserve officer. In launching his campaign as “a New Jersey Reagan Republican,” de Neufville spoke of his family’s four-generation history in Morris County. Independently wealthy, he has said he’s prepared to self-finance his campaign. De Neufville served on former Gov. Chris Christie’s New Jersey Finance Committee.
Quote: “We in New Jersey’s 11th District – living in the towns and villages that once hosted General Washington’s army – are being asked to respond to this challenge by the Democrats.” (Candidacy announcement, 4/2/18)
Next week: Primary Primer continues with a look at where candidates stand on key issues.