Lakewood Briefs

  1. David Richter Wins GOP Primary

Republican favorite David Richter seized his party’s nomination to take on Rep. Andy Kim in November’s elections. Other primary races were devoid of action with heavily favored incumbents securing their candidacy.

The race for the state’s third congressional district is one that will be closely watched as one of the seats the GOP has a reasonable shot of re-claiming from the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in 2018.

Mr. Richter has spent many years as the CEO of an international construction firm and before that worked for several prestigious law firms, but is making his first attempt for elected office. Two years ago, Rep. Kim won by very slim margins in the district that startled the deeply conservative Ocean County with Burlington County which includes densely populated and Democratic leaning Philadelphia suburbs.

Rep. Kim has cast himself as a moderate making military affairs and health care his chief focuses. In a statement after his victory, Mr. Richter took aim at the image.

“I’m not a politician, this is my first election, but I already know that running for Congress is tough, and it is only going to get tougher from here as we move on to challenge Andy Kim in the general election. But Andy Kim is a Nancy Pelosi puppet, part of the radical left and a terrible fit for our district, one that voted for President Trump in 2016 and is going to do so again in 2020.”

Mr. Richter ran against former Burlington Freeholder, Kate Gibbs for the nomination. He won the GOP’s official backing and won by a large margin.

In other primary elections, longtime 4th district congressional representative Chris Smith easily won the GOP nomination. He will face Stephanie Schmid who won the Democratic contest.

Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari who is also up for re-election was unopposed for the GOP nomination.

County Officials Encourage Continued Vigilance against COVID Resurgence

Ocean County officials warned residents to remain vigilant and continue to take precautions to prevent a resurgence of COVID cases in the area. New Jersey has moved along with many of its re-opening plans amid low and falling transmission rates, yet surges in other states have led some experts to feel that residents must remain on guard against an early snap-back.

“We’ve all come too far to take any steps backward,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “It’s imperative we keep ourselves and loved ones safe by continuing to practice social distancing, getting tested, wearing a mask and to follow all the COVID-19 safety protocols and guidance. If we stop now, we can easily have the same setbacks such as states like Florida, Texas and others across the nation are currently facing.”

The county’s health department recommended that residents take advantage of available testing in order to prevent spread by non-symptomatic carriers. They also encouraged the wearing of masks, adherence to social distancing when possible, and to be responsive to outreach by contact tracers.

New Jersey and other states in the region have issued a 14 quarantine on anybody returning from states that are seeing a rapid rise in infection rates including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

“So far we’ve been fortunate in Ocean County, but several other counties across New Jersey have been directly tied to people traveling here from COVID-19 hotspots nationwide,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “The Public Health community is urging travelers and residents who are returning from impacted states to self-quarantine at their home, or a hotel or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items.”

The travel advisory does not apply to those passing through a state or making brief stops such as at a rest area or layover.

“OCHD urges people to resist those temptations or fall into non-compliance because it may “feel like” the pandemic is over,” said Mr. Regenye. “Believe me it’s far from over; it’s still deadly and is still easily contagious if you’re not protected.”

Sen. Singer Calls for State to allow Restaurants to Offer Indoor Dining

State Senator Robert Singer called on the state to allow restaurants to offer limited indoor dining as part of the scaling back of restrictions intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, he cited recent bouts of inclement weather as a reason why restrictions should be eased in order to let eateries stay afloat.

“A downpour should not put a damper on a restaurant’s ability to open and stay in business. Today and tomorrow’s rain and thunder are the perfect examples of why restaurants should be able to safely open and operate at a limited capacity indoors,” said Sen. Singer.

Governor Phil Murphy originally planned to allow for limited indoor dining as the state moved into phase three, but retracted after several states in the south and west experienced sharp spikes in COVID infections.

Sen. Singer asked the restaurants be able to seat 25 percent of their capacity and to operate with social distancing and other applicable CDC guidelines.

“Mom-and-pop restaurants down the shore must make an entire year’s profits over the span of three summer months,” added Singer. “Local sit-down restaurants that are already struggling due to the shutdown won’t be able to pull through these tough times if the status quo remains in place. I am calling for the Governor to immediately open indoor dining to give our restaurants, especially those at the Jersey Shore, the chance to survive.”