The chairman of the Atlantic County Young Republicans announced Tuesday he will seek his party’s nomination to challenge freshman U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, next year.

Brian T. Fitzherbert, 30, of Egg Harbor Township, said in a statement he has been a businessman, engineer and project manager in the defense and aerospace industry for nearly a decade. He said he has worked for defense contractors Textron and L3Harris, developing drones, ground control stations, electronic warfare testers, simulators and area attack weapons.

“South Jersey deserves a principled, relentless conservative who will work alongside President Donald Trump to deliver the results that hard-working families need and deserve,” Fitzherbert said.

He said Van Drew is not able to represent the district and advocate for bringing more aviation and technical firms as well as he is, citing 10 years’ experience working for defense contractors.

He also criticized Van Drew for his first vote in Congress, in which he cast a confusing “no” in the vote for speaker of the House of Representatives. Van Drew was supposed to state the name of who he was supporting, so his “no” was counted as “present.”

It helped Nancy Pelosi to secure the speakership, Fitzherbert said, and “created confusion — people didn’t know where he stood.”

Van Drew said at the time of the vote in January he voted “no” as a way of stating his opposition to Pelosi, as he had promised his constituents he would do.

“It’s part of the political process,” said Van Drew this past week. “I wish him the best and hope it’s a great experience for him.”

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District encompasses all of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties and parts of Gloucester, Ocean, Burlington and Camden counties.

Fitzherbert said he is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in economics and supply-chain management. He also has a master’s degree in technical management from the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“South Jersey needs a congressman who wasn’t part of the Trenton Legislature that led to out-of-control spending, unrealistic promises and a cost of living that has made the Garden State too expensive to live and raise a family,” Fitzherbert said.

Fitzherbert has served on the Somers Point Economic Development Advisory Commission and formed and chaired the Atlantic County Young Republicans.

He also serves as vice chairman of the Young Republican Federation of New Jersey, he said.

For more information, visit fitzherbertforcongress.com.

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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