Unanue gets Ocean County screening committee endorsement

In Ocean County, things are looking up for Andy Unanue, even if he won’t attend Thursday’s convention in person.

The local party’s screening committee met Saturday – before Unanue had even officially announced his candidacy – and voted to back him 14-0, with one abstention. He’s also got the powerful Republican Chairman George Gilmore in his corner.

“Historically, the screening committee’s recommendation is generally followed,” said Gilmore.

Rival Joe Pennacchio has one thing going for him – he’s backed by all three of the county’s Republican state Senators: Bob Singer, Andrew Ciesla and Chris Connors.

Singer said that for now he’s sticking with Penncachio, and will support him up to the county committee’s vote. But if party backs a different candidate, he’ll shift his allegiance.

Ciesla and Connors could not be reached for comment, but Singer implied that they would go the same way.

“You’ll find with all our senators, whatever happens at county council is who we’ll support,” he said. “I’ll support him to get the nomination, and if OC supports someone else we go with that person.”

"He’s obviously working very, very hard at it. I mean he’s traveling all over the country as chairman of the [Republican Governors Association] and I think at this point he has as good a chance or better than anybody else. His name is household word all across the country, and I think he would make a great president."
—former U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3), on Gov. Chris Christie