By: Helena Perray, Follow South Jersey Community Resources Intern
SOUTH JERSEY — Following the retirement of Republican Senator Chris Brown, engineer Vincent Polistina and attorney Seth Grossman have been competing for the right to run for a seat in New Jersey’s State Senate. Both held a place on the Republican ballot as New Jersey’s district two representatives. The Associated Press called the race in Mr. Polistina’s favor last night, as he won more than two-thirds of the total votes counted in the second district race.
Mr. Polistina defeated Mr. Grossman, who previously lost out to Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2) for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Rep. Van Drew initially defeated Mr. Grossman as a Democrat, but he has since changed his political association to the Republican party.
The state’s second district covers parts of eight counties in South Jersey, including Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, and Cumberland counties.
As the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary election, Mr. Polistina is set to run against Vince Mazzeo, a member of the New Jersey Assembly and the district’s Democratic candidate who ran unopposed in the primary, for the seat in the State Senate.
While Mr. Polistina has been backed by the Atlantic County GOP, Mr. Grossman ran off the line, but he did receive an endorsement from the NRA.
Mr. Polistina, who currently resides in Egg Harbor, formerly served in the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the state’s second district from 2008–2012. This is now the second time that Mr. Polistina has run for the State Senate as a district two representative. Following his success in gaining the 2011 Republican senate nomination, his Democratic opponent, Jim Whelan, ultimately won the November election.
Branding himself as a “family man” and “problem solver,” Mr. Polistina has focused his campaign around his hope for economic development within the community. According to a campaign ad released by Mr. Polistina, he plans to focus on cutting taxes, keeping schools open, and ridding New Jersey of Democratic politicians, such as Governor Phil Murphy, who have opposing visions for the state – most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Grossman, a former member of the Atlantic City City Council, ran his campaign with promotion of the slogan “Fighting ‘Woke’ Democrats.” According to Mr. Grossman’s website, his campaign surrounds the promotion of conservative values, as well as backing law enforcement, defending gun rights, stopping “woke mandates,” and putting taxpayers first.
Mr. Grossman previously faced backlash after publicly commenting in 2018 that the notion of diversity was “crap and un-American,” but he has since denied all allegations of racism, moving forward with this year’s primary.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.