Notice of Atlantic County Committee Meeting

September 23, 2020

          PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that pursuant to the provisions of 40:41A-145.1, 40:41A-145.2, and 19:13-20, a meeting of the Atlantic County Republican Committee will be held on October 1, 2020 at 6:00 pm at the Linwood Country Club, 500 Shore Road, Linwood, New Jersey.  The purpose of the meeting is to fill a vacancy in the at-large Atlantic County Freeholder seat previously held by Frank Formica, who resigned, effective September 11, 2020.

          More information can be found at  If you have any questions, please call (609) 677-0707.

Keith Davis


Atlantic County Republican Committee

Date mailed: September 17, 2020

Levinson Cites Data with Request to Lift Indoor Restrictions

August 17, 2020

On August 14, Governor Murphy asked New Jersey residents to bear with him and his administration while they decide when and how to permit indoor dining at restaurants and bars or allow gyms, movie theaters or entertainment venues to reopen.

But Atlantic County’s businesses cannot afford to wait any longer, according to County Executive Dennis Levinson.

“We have already lost Memorial Day and Fourth of July business and are fast approaching Labor Day and the fall season with no indication that the governor will permit indoor dining and entertainment anytime soon,” stated Levinson.

“Our restaurants are dying on the vine and cannot survive on just take-out, delivery and curbside service alone,” he added. “Outdoor dining will become much less appealing as the temperatures drop and our active hurricane season continues to pose threats.”

Levinson suggests that restaurants, and possibly bars, gyms and movie theaters, be allowed to reopen at limited capacity with the same health and safety requirements that businesses such as Target, Home Depot, Shop Rite, Acme, CVS, shopping malls, arcades and childcare centers must maintain.

“The governor states that his decisions are based on science and data but we’ve yet to see it. Where’s the data that says that it is somehow safer to open those big box stores and indoor businesses than it would be for a restaurant or movie theater to open,” said Levinson.

Both Connecticut and Massachusetts resumed limited indoor dining back in June without any notable increases in Covid-19 cases.

“If others can do it, why can’t we? We’re fighting for our economic lives here and we need the governor to take action.”

Levinson cited recent news of a report by StratoDem Analytics that indicated New Jersey had a second quarter economic loss at an annualized rate of 34.6%, higher than the national annualized loss. Even more disturbing was Atlantic County’s 40% drop in gross domestic product, the highest among all counties in the state.

The second quarter covers the months of April, May and June during which time Atlantic City’s nine casinos were closed. The governor allowed the casinos to reopen in July but at limited capacity and without indoor dining and entertainment.

In March, the Brookings Institution projected the Atlantic City metro region would be the third most recession-vulnerable area in the U.S. with more than one-third of its workforce in industries threatened by coronavirus-related uncertainties.

“How can the governor ignore this devastating economic data?”

“If these businesses have any chance to survive, they need the opportunity to reopen. We are confident they can operate safely and without placing any additional risks on their customers,” he concluded. “At this point, it’s do or die.”

Atlantic County Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica said he strongly supports Levinson in asking the governor to restore indoor dining and entertainment and will bring these concerns before the bipartisan Board of Freeholders.

“I fully anticipate the freeholders will pass a resolution to implore the governor to take this necessary action,” said Formica.

Freeholder Caren Fitzpatrick refuses to debate; Other Democrats to follow her lead?

August 17, 2020

Contact: John Lyons
[email protected]

Somers Point, NJ – Democratic Freeholder candidate Caren Fitzpatrick refused to debate Republican challenger James Toto, in response to a direct question during the July 29th episode of “Off the Press with Scott Cronick”.

Scott Cronick, following in the footsteps of his predecessor and mentor Pinky Kravitz, agreed to moderate a debate using the Lincoln-Douglas format. “Off the Press with Scott Cronick” is the preeminent afternoon drive time local talk show that succeeded “Pinkys Corner” a radio program that over a half of a century served as the premier forum of debate in Atlantic County. 

“It just goes to show my opponent’s inability to lead and listen. Communication is a two way street. Caren and her running mates obviously don’t want to hear what their constituents have to say.” Toto said.  Toto went on to add “I’m happy to talk about my record.  I served my country in the United States Army, and after our country was attacked I became a Federal Air Marshall a few short months after September 11th.  After retiring from the Air Marshal service I was elected to Council in Somers Point where I work every day to make my community a better place. After we win in November, I’ll take those skills to the Freeholder Board and continue the good work Republicans have been doing in Atlantic County for decades.” Toto said.

 Freeholder John Risley who is also seeking re-election to the Atlantic County Freeholder Board shared his thoughts on the issue of debating during this year’s election.  “With COVID-19 our ability to interact with voters and make traditional contacts is limited. Discussion and organized debate is more important now than ever before.  I’m surprised that Caren Fitzpatrick would not want to talk about the good work Republicans are doing on the Freeholder board.” Risley said.

Moving on from the issue of debates both John Risley and James Toto are in the midst of launching a well resourced campaign aimed at voters across Atlantic County.   “Under Republican leadership Atlantic County is the best run county in New Jersey. With your support this November, I’ll be re-elected and we’ll add James Toto to the board and reach even greater heights.” Risley said.

Read The Full Release Here

Congressman Van Drew Statement on MVC Nightmare

July 10, 2020

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Weldon 202.225.6572

MAYS LANDING – Today, Congressman Van Drew voiced his extreme concern with the process of reopening Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) facilities. Lines at almost every location were backed up to enormous levels, with some people waiting in line all day and still not receiving help. In some cases, law enforcement had to step in to assist in the process. “The reopening of the MVC has been wrought with pain for people who have been waiting months to get help; we have to offer more options including tele-conference in addition to opening more locations offering more services,” said Rep. Van Drew. “The entire country has had to adapt to new ways of operating, but apparently the MVCs, under Governor Murphy’s guidance, have not. The Governor demanded every voter in the state vote by mail because of concerns over long lines; I want an explanation on how the monstrous lines we saw this week at MVCs can be allowed and I want solutions.”

Van Drew Dominates Republican Primary

July 8, 2020

South Jersey’s Trump-endorsed, Conservative Republican Congressman Jeff Van Drew won a decisive victory in tonight’s Republican Primary to officially become the party’s nominee in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District.

“I would like to thank President Trump for his unwavering support and Republicans throughout South Jersey for the confidence they have placed in me to be their nominee,” said United States Congressman Jeff Van Drew. “While the Democrats were tripping over each other to appease the Radical Left in a bitter and divisive primary, our Republican Party came together and is united as we head into the General Election. ”

Two years ago, Jeff Van Drew won 56% of the vote in his Democrat Primary. Tonight, he won over 80% in the Republican Primary.

“Tonight’s results make it crystal clear that Congressman Van Drew’s home has always been right here in the Republican Party,” said Van Drew’s Campaign Manager Ron Filan. “We’re looking forward to South Jersey voters getting to see the stark contrast between Congressman Van Drew’s fight for “A Strong America” and the Democrats’ radical push for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and Defunding the Police.”

Statement from Somers Point Councilman / Atlantic County Freeholder Candidate James Toto

June 3, 2020

During my time serving in the military and as a federal air Marshall I exercised restraint in the most difficult of circumstances. As I watch our communities be destroyed, especially places like Atlantic City, I pray that we can gather as a community in peace and find the restraint needed to make the sounds of injustice heard. Violence and destruction are not the way. 

We are all children of God who deserve a world filled with hope and opportunity. But we need to come together to work with each other to make change, reality. 

I pray for George Floyd and his family.  I pray for those across America who can’t open their hearts to love each other.  I pray for my brothers and sisters in law enforcement and the military who work everyday to keep us safe.  Finally, I pray for all of us to have the vision to see injustice in our world and end it. 

The only way forward is TOGETHER.

Freeholder Candidate James Toto sets the example in Somers Point amid COVID-19

April 23, 2020

For Immediate Release April 23, 2020
Contact: John Lyons 
Checkmate Strategies
[email protected]

Somers Point, NJ – Somers Point Councilman James Toto who is also seeking a seat as Atlantic County Freeholder-at-large has partnered with private industry to provide Somers Point, NJ municipal employees with private dedicated COVID-19 testing.

“We are in a crisis, and we have to look to President Trump’s examples of partnering with industry to get through this.  As a Councilman I want to do all that I can to keep Somers Point functioning during such a difficult time.  By providing testing for our employees we can get those who are suspected of being positive tested, and back to work quicker.  Or know for sure their status so they can take the appropriate measures.  To solve this challenge, I contacted My Wellness Express and Mike Schwartz.  Working with our administration here in Somers Point led by Sean McGuigan I am happy to announce testing will take place starting next week for our municipal employees through My Wellness Express.  ” Toto said.

Toto went on to discuss how the Somers Point plan could be put to use in other municipalities across Atlantic County “We have a testing site setup at the Hamilton Mall, which is great. But if the cities and towns across Atlantic County can take advantage of a resource like this they could reduce the burden on the county testing site and ensure municipal employees get fast test results to ease their anxiety, and the anxiety felt by their families.  That would also free up opportunities for others to get tested at the Atlantic County testing site.” Toto said.

“In this crisis, we don’t need more government. We need more partnership with industry and I hope that our example in Somers Point shines as a beacon of what Republican leadership looks like.”

Mike Schwartz of My Wellness Express echoed his support for Somers Point and municipal employees across South Jersey “as a former police officer, I know firsthand the challenges of keeping officers on the road during a crisis. Our police, fire, EMS, and municipal workers are on the front lines everyday and we are happy we can assist them during these times. When Jim called, we did not hesitate. I know how much he cares about his community and applaud his efforts to take the lead. Adequate testing is the only way to truly flatten the cure. I’m just glad we are in a position to help”

Jim Toto is a lifelong Republican and a 4 year veteran of Somers Point Council.  Jim is a proud Veteran of the US Army.  Following his time in the military, Toto answered his nation’s call and served as a US Air Marshal for 6 years. Following his retirement from his military/law enforcement career, Jim Toto currently works for the City of Ocean City Public Works Department. Toto is married with three children and resides in Somers Point, NJ.

Governor Murphy is taking advantage of COVID-19 crisis

April 16, 2020

Contact: John Lyons 
Checkmate Strategies
[email protected]

Atlantic County Sheriff candidate criticizes Governor Phil Murphy’s mass release of convicted criminals under the guise of COVID-19

Egg Harbor Township, NJ – Atlantic County Sheriff Candidate Joe “Tokyo” O’Donoghue weighed-in today after a Tweet from Governor Phil Murphy where Murphy announced that through an executive order the Governor would be releasing convicted criminals from prisons in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.  The Governor’s tweet commented that “social distancing is extremely hard to accomplish in a prison setting.”

“As a career law enforcement officer who has dedicated his life to the rule of law and ensuring that criminals face justice, I’m disgusted.  The men and women of law enforcement in Atlantic County and across this state continue to put themselves at risk to maintain law and order in our communities.  More now than ever, with so much uncertainty the last thing we need are more criminals on our streets.” O’Donoghue said.

“The Governor’s reasoning that releasing inmates will somehow reduce the spread of COVID-19 in state prisons is ridiculous.  These prisoners are people who can’t follow the laws of our society, which is why they are in prison in the first place. Now we would expect them to just suddenly comply with not only the laws of our society but social distancing guidelines that are a challenge for folks who have never broken the law. Give me a break.” O’Donohue said.  

O’Donohue went on to add “There are practical ways to limit inmate contacts in prisons to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  We don’t hear the Governor or the Attorney General talking about the risks COVID-19 poses to guards and staff in our prisons.  That’s because they would rather speak for criminals, then the hard working men and women of law enforcement.” said O’Donoghue.

“It’s clear that Governor Murphy is taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to continue to implement his radical liberal agenda.  A democratic agenda which will weaken our justice system and put our families in danger with criminals free to roam the streets. We have to stop them.” O’Donoghue said. 

Joe “Tokyo” O’Donoghue brings with him a broad resume of experience as a law enforcement professional having most recently served as a Sergeant with the New Jersey State Superior Court system.  Prior to his assignment with the Courts O’Donoghue served 18 years with the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office. During his time as a law enforcement professional, O’Donoghue received numerous awards and commendations including the medal of valor.  In addition, O’Donoghue has held leadership positions in several police unions including PBA Locals 77 and 243 in Atlantic County. Law enforcement is a tradition in the O’Donoghue family with three of Joe’s children being sworn law enforcement officers serving in Atlantic County and a fourth that serves as an Officer with the New Jersey State Department of Corrections. Joe resides in Egg Harbor Township and is presently engaged to his longtime girlfriend Marie Ortiz.

GOP Efforts in Atlantic County Offer a Blueprint for Success

February 25, 2020

By Keith Davis, Atlantic County GOP Chairman

Republicans from throughout New Jersey will convene in Atlantic County March 6-7 for two days of training and socializing along the ocean. What Republicans learn and discuss during the annual Statewide Republican Leadership Summit can dictate our party’s success in the years ahead.

With two Democratic U.S. Senators, a majority of the congressional delegation in Democrat hands and a Democratic Governor and Legislature, the task ahead is a daunting one.

But if we focus on supporting solid candidates who are electable, we can take advantage of a splintered New Jersey Democratic Party to elect more Republicans in the Garden State this and next year, restoring our party’s relevance with solid conservative policies.

Republicans’ efforts in Atlantic County can offer the state a blueprint for success.

Despite having thousands of more Democratic than Republican voters in Atlantic County, we have a Republican County Executive, Republican Surrogate, a majority on the Freeholder Board and Republican majorities in two-thirds of our townships, cities and boroughs. In last year’s election alone, 84% of the Republicans running in all races in Atlantic County were elected.

This is what we have done:

Take redistricting seriously and plan ahead. Unlike most counties, Atlantic County has 5 freeholder districts. Despite the Chief Justice choosing a registered Democrat to break the tie on our redistricting commission, with the help of minority communities who thought they were being disenfranchised by their own Democratic Party, we were able to convince the tie-breaker (a respected retired judge, not a professor) to choose our Republican map.

Hold the Democrats accountable for ballot harvesting. The Democrats know they can’t win at the polls, so they have resorted to harvesting vote by mail ballots by paying bounties on votes turned in by canvassers. We have hired private investigators and placed challengers at the Board of Elections to make sure that every vote is an honest one.

Run Republicans everywhere. No town is written off from receiving support. In Atlantic City, which has a 10-1 Democrat to Republican voter advantage, we supported former Atlantic City Republican Mayor Don Guardian in his successful election. And Councilman Jesse Kurtz was just reelected for another term in the 6th Ward.

Diversity matters. It is critical for us as a party to encourage and support, both organizationally and financially, women and persons of color who want to run as Republicans. Last year, Freeholder Amy Gatto was chosen as the first female chair of our Freeholder Board. And this year Andrew Parker, an African-American Committee member from Egg Harbor Township, is running for Freeholder. His incumbent opponent has already dropped out of the race.

Hold open conventions to discourage divisive primaries. In Atlantic County, we have an annual convention with elected officials and party activists – the grassroots. No screening committees. This has led to our county having the most fair and transparent convention process in the state. As a result, candidates feel that they are treated with respect and it discourages costly primaries where Republicans beat up Republicans.

As Republicans meet in Atlantic City this week, let’s take some of our successes in Atlantic County and apply them statewide with these ideas:

  • Establish a voter integrity arm within the state party to stop the nefarious practice of ballot harvesting, threatening the integrity of our elections. While we encourage voters to vote by mail, let’s make sure every vote is cast by an eligible voter.
  • Frontload our county conventions in 2021 to coalesce around an electable gubernatorial candidate early. Phil Murphy is not Jon Corzine. We need every advantage to win back the governorship. An expensive primary hurts our chances. Let’s have a January 31 convention deadline in 2021 to give our nominee a head start.
  • Work with like-minded Democrats to advance our principles. Let’s pick some issues where we can work with Democrats to get things done. State Senator Chris Brown and Assemblyman Ryan Peters have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand the Open Public Records Act to cover the legislature. The Democrats in Trenton should adhere to the same rules they impose on every other level of government. Governor Murphy supports the idea. Let’s put together a majority of Democrats and Republicans to get this passed and pull back the curtain on how the state legislature does the public’s business.
  • Pick a dozen county and municipal races throughout the state, currently held by Democrats, and plow in resources. The Democrats are much better at this than we are. We can’t build a state party unless we have more Republicans holding office at the local level – especially with diverse backgrounds. If all our resources go into friendly territory, we will continue to be stuck in neutral – or worse, reverse.

With unity and discipline, we can have more competitive elections in New Jersey and yes, elect more Republicans to federal, state, county and municipal offices. The future trends of our state are dismal under continued Democratic control. It’s up to us to make sure voters have an alternative to take our state in a different direction.

Keith Davis is the Atlantic County Republican Chairman. He previously served as Chair of the New Jersey Republican Chairmen’s Association and legal counsel to the Republican State Committee.

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