Ventnor Mayor Beth Maccagnano Holtzman announced over the weekend she is dropping out of the race for Assembly in the 2nd District, citing health reasons.

Holtzman, 56, was set to run alongside Republican Atlantic Country Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica, but due to her ongoing recovery from recent spinal surgery, she has decided not to go through with the campaign.

“Physically I’m not at the point in my life that I can do it,” Holtzman said Monday. “It was best that I just get out now than pursue it any further at this time.”

Along with Formica, Republican Freeholder John Risley, of Egg Harbor Township, and Somers Point Republican Councilman James Toto are challenging Democratic incumbents John Armato and Vincent Mazzeo.

Holtzman, who underwent the procedure in September, made the decision after her surgeon warned her that campaigning could jeopardize her recovery and risk further complications.

“The hardest thing for me right now is to accept that I have limits,” she said.

Holtzman, who has served as Ventnor’s mayor for more than two years and works as the fiscal officer for Atlantic County’s Department of Family and Community Development, recognized this time she would not just have to campaign for one municipality but 17.

“I have to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else,” she said.

Still, Holtzman wanted to connect with voters in the mostly Democratic district, which represents most of Atlantic County.

“I really believe that I had a chance at gaining a seat back for the Republican party,” she said.

Formica said Holtzman’s choice was “clear-cut” and supported her decision to avoid a vigorous campaign.

“I’m sorry to see that she can’t do it because she would have been an excellent candidate,” Formica said. “She’s very driven and passionate, and that’s what we need representing us in Atlantic County: people with passion.”

Holtzman said she will continue in her capacity as mayor.

“Ventnor is the closest to my heart,” she said. “I’m happy to still be the mayor and probably, God willing, I’ll rerun in 2020, and we’ll see where it takes me.”

Contact: 609-272-7239 aauble@pressofac.com

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