Republican state Sen. Christopher J. Connors, along with Republican Assembly members Brian Rumpf and DiAnne C. Gove will retain their positions in the 9th Legislative District.

Connors, 55, defeated Democratic candidate and former Barnegat Township Committeewoman Dorothy Ryan by a 2-1 margin of about 66 percent to 34 percent. Rumpf and Gove also won easily over Democratic Assembly challengers Bradley Billhimer and Carla Kearney; Rumpf won approximately 33 percent of the vote, while Gove got 32 percent. Kearney and Billhimer each had about 17 percent.

District 9 now includes Galloway Township and Port Republic in Atlantic County. The Atlantic County totals for had Conners winning 58 percent to Ryan's 42. In the Assembly, the Atlantic County totals for Rumpf were 28  percent; Gove about 28 percent; Kearney 22 percent and Billhimer about 22 percent.

“I’m very elated with the results,” Connors said from the Toms River Holiday Inn, the Ocean County Republican headquarters. “Brian, DiAnne and I are ecstatic that people expressed their confidence in us. It’s always gratifying when you know you have overwhelming support. We got a lot of work to do. We look forward to going back in the lame duck and getting some of the unfinished stuff done.” 

Connors has a 21-year legacy in the state Legislature. He was a member of the state Assembly for 17 years before being elected to the Senate in 2007.

Rumpf was unable to attend the event. He is recovering from a injury he sustained last month in a fall from the roof of his home. He watched the results from home.

“I’m very pleased with the results, and I’m very grateful that all the people came out to vote,” he said in a phone interview.  “And I look forward to the next two years.  I’m feeling better tonight.”

Rumpf was appointed to his seat in 2003. He won his fourth full term Tuesday. 

This will be Gove’s second full-term win. She served as Long Beach Township mayor from 2004 to 2008.

“I’m excited,” she said from the headquarters. “It’s a great night for the three of us. I’m honored and privileged that the 9th District voted us in.  I’m really looking forward to representing them again, especially our new districts.”

Legislative redistricting earlier this year initially caused confusion among constituents in towns such Galloway Township. Galloway and Port Republic in Atlantic County, Tabernacle Township in Burlington County, and South Toms River and Seaside Park in Ocean County were added to the 9th District. Folsom and Hammonton in Atlantic County and Manchester and Lakehurst in Ocean County were moved to other districts.

The incumbents had a significant funding advantage in the district, which is historically dominated by Republicans. The Democrats attempted to overcome the gap by traditional campaigning.

The incumbents’ campaign focused on protection of Barnegat Bay and preparation for the closing of the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township. The nuclear power plant is set to close in eight years, but during the campaign the Republicans made clear that they believe the time for planning is now.

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