Gregory McGuckin’s face reddened as he smiled behind glistening eyes to accept victory as District 10 assemblyman, thanking supporters from the podium of the county Republican victory party Tuesday night.
The longtime Toms River Council president couldn’t take a step in any direction without being greeted by a handshake, a hug, or congratulations.
“I am so proud to stand here,” McGuckin said. “We are a party of opportunity and I am so thankful for the opportunity.”
The by a wide margin.
Holzapfel, a Brick resident and incumbent assemblyman, will take the two-year Senate seat long inhabited by retiring incumbent Andrew Ciesla, while McGuckin and incumbent Wolfe will head to the General Assembly for two-year terms.
Holzapfel earned at least 28,538 votes to Democratic challenger Charles Tivenan's 16,042. McGuckin and Wolfe tallied 26,697 and 27,818 votes, respectively, to Democrats Bette Wary and Eli Eytan's 16,841 and 15,639, respectively.
McGuckin praised retiring legislator Ciesla: “I hope I can be one-tenth the legislator you have been over the last years.”
The victor was nearly drowned out by applause as he listed the many family members present, thanking them for support.
He pointed to his father, John McGuckin, who inspired him early to seek a path of public service.
“It was 40 years ago my father became the first directly elected mayor of Brick township,” McGuckin said. “This is something that always stuck with me, growing up.”
McGuckin, who for the last eight years has served on Council, was chosen to be the first council president in Toms River under its new form of government in 2003.
That this mirrored his father’s achievement was not lost of McGuckin. “This is really something special,” he said. “It is a pretty personal story.”
Now, as an assemblyman for District 10, McGuckin will represent the town his father led so many decades ago.
“To represent Brick after my dad’s history, and to represent Toms River after my service there, it’s just a tremendous honor,” McGuckin said.
The 10th district includes Brick, Toms River, Manchester, Lakehurst, Lavallette, Island Heights, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights.
Writers Daniel Nee and Nick Loffredo contributed to this report.