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June 07, 2022

In N.J.'s 3rd District Republican primary, Bob Healey prevails over Ian Smith and Nicholas Ferrara

A yacht manufacturer and onetime lead singer of a punk band, he will face Democrat Andy Kim in the November general election

In the only South Jersey primary to offer any of suspense on Tuesday night, Bob Healey won the Republican nomination in New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District.

Healey, yacht manufacturer who was once the frontman of Philadelphia punk band the Ghouls, defeated Ian Smith, owner of Atillis Gym in Bellmawr who became a controversial figure for his refusal to follow New Jersey's COVID-19 restrictions, and Nicholas Ferrara, a lawyer and real estate agent from Hamilton, Mercer County.

  • 3rd District U.S. House, Republican primary
  • Bob Healey: 16,627 votes (52.8%)
  • Ian Smith: 12,052 votes (38.3%)
  • Nicholas Ferrara: 2,788 votes (8.9%)
  • 82% of votes counted

The Associated Press press called the election for Healey on Tuesday shortly before midnight. With 82% of votes counted, Healey had 52.8% to Smith's 38.3% and Ferrara's 8.9%

New Jersey's 3rd District represents most of Burlington County and parts of Mercer and Monmouth counties.

Among Healey's campaign promises, he wants to restore the State and Local Tax Deduction, a policy allows taxpayers to subtract certain taxes paid to state and local governments from their federal filings. "Democrats like Andy Kim ran in 2018 promising they would return this deduction, yet despite complete Democratic control of Congress and the Presidency, Rep. Kim has done nothing to make it happen," Healey says.

Also of his campaign website, Healey calls mask mandates "unscientific," opposes "forced COVID vaccinations" and says school curriculums "increasingly bent on indoctrinating students rather than educating them, too many of our school board and school administrators – often infiltrated by a hyper-partisan and politically powerful teacher’s union – are trying to supplant the role of the parents and reshape our society."

He says he will fight against cancel culture an political correctness in the name of free speech, and he is anti-abortion and "strongly against efforts to infringe upon our rights and for radicals in Congress to scapegoat legal gun owners for the violent and lawless actions of others." 

Healey bills himself an environmentalist. He's opposed to offshore drilling and supports investment in renewable technologies like wind, solar and nuclear. Still, he's not for phasing out fossil fuels and would like to see construction resume on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Smith had gotten national attention during the pandemic for refusing to close his gym in accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order. His politics were in line with former President Donald Trump, and he said if elected, he planned to weed out "left-wing" and "anti-American" ideas in the American education system. He claimed critical race theory was an example of this.

A few weeks into his campaign, Smith was charged with driving drunk. When Smith was 20 in 2007, he was driving drunk in Galloway Township and hit another car, killing Kevin Ade, 19. He ultimately was found guilty sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.

In November's general election, Healey will run against incumbent Rep. Andy Kim, who won his Democratic primary on Tuesday.