Now that Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen will not seek a 13th term in Congress, the big question is which Republican will step up to run?
John Van Wagner, president of the Montclair Republican Club, says there is a lot of shuffling around with people trying to figure out the best direction to retain the seat and the best candidate to go up against Mikie Sherill, a former Navy helicopter pilot who already has strong name recognition and media attention.
Van Wagner envisions the ideal candidate as “someone who can be sensitive to the needs of constituents both in Morris County and in Montclair which is a tough balancing act,” says Van Wagner, adding that the right person would be a right of center candidate with an ear to the ground when it comes to the needs of all the communities in the district.
That person could be Bill Hurlock, Montclair’s First Ward councilman, says Van Wagner.
“Bill has been able to navigate away in a community that’s not politically diverse. He is able to still be responsive to constituents he serves while maintaining a position as a thoughtful and tempered conservative that would appeal to the majority of constituents in the 11th,” says Van Wagner.
When asked if he would consider running, Hurlock shared that he had been getting calls from others in the party asking the very same thing.
“If I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity, I would never rule out the chance to serve the public. At this moment I have two and a half years left on my council term serving the residents of the First Ward in Montclair and that is what I am focused on,” says Hurlock, who was raised in Morris County, where his dad was a police officer in town.
Other names Van Wagner has heard as possible candidates are Jay Webber (R-Parsippany), who serves as the appropriations officer for the N.J. Assembly and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-Randolph).
Martin Hewitt, an attorney in Morris township, had already announced plans to run against Frelinghuysen before he had announced his retirement.