Atlantic County Freeholder Joseph McDevitt will be challenged for renomination at the county Republican convention by a local union official.

Will Pauls, the president of the South Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, in Atlantic City, said the question delegates to the Atlantic County Republican Club convention should ask themselves is, “Is Will Pauls a better candidate than Joe McDevitt?”

“I’ve been around (for) years, and I’ve supported a lot of people,” said Pauls, 57, of Mays Landing. “I just looked at the Republican ticket and think I’m a good candidate for that ticket. ... I’m a Republican, and I’m going to go into the convention as a Republican, and whatever the delegates decide, I will abide by it.”

Pauls said that his main concern “is that you’ve got to know how to work with people. ... I’ve worked with a lot of people, they know what I’m about. I’m about making Atlantic County a better place for people to live.”

McDevitt, running for his third term as an at-large freeholder, said that “it’s good for the party to have people vying for the same position. I have no problem with it. I just question the reasons for it. Are certain people trying to take over the party to self-aggrandize or fill jobs for their union, or are they running for office for the benefit of Atlantic County?”

Pauls’ trades council, which represents 22 labor unions, signed an agreement with Revel Entertainment Group and construction manager Tishman Construction in 2011 to complete construction of the resort. UNITE-HERE Local 54, headed by McDevitt’s brother Bob McDevitt, has since battled with Revel over efforts to unionize its work force.

“Is it a personal vendetta against my brother about Revel?” McDevitt said. “Either way, I see the Republicans overwhelmingly endorsing me and moving on to face the Democrats in November.”

WPG Talk Radio 1450 host Harry Hurley first reported Pauls’ run on his “Hurley in the Morning” radio show.

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