New Jersey 4th District Congressional candidate Robert Shapiro has withdrawn from the race after falling short of gathering the minimum number of candidate petition signatures to qualify.

A mere 200 valid signatures are all that were required. Shapiro turned in 203 signatures, however, New Jersey Administrative Law Judge Elia Pelios rejected 9 signatures, which brought Shapiro below the minimum 200 threshold.

Judge Pelios ruled that 5 signers did not live in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional district and 4 others were not registered Republicans and their signatures on Shapiro’s petition were also knocked out.

Despite running for the 11th time, Shapiro made a rookie mistake, as a candidate needs to have a cushion for just this reason. Shapiro only had a cushion of 3 signatures. He played it too close.

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David Wildstein from the New Jersey Globe first broke this story.

“If I’m going to go under 200, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, “Shapiro said to the New Jersey Globe. “I have to withdraw my petitions.“

Shapiro was planning to face long-time Congressman Chris Smith in a contested Republican Primary election.

Congressman Smith has held the 4th District seat since winning it in 1980, when President Ronald Reagan defeated then-incumbent President Jimmy Carter.

1980 was a Republican wave election year in New Jersey

Shapiro pushed the envelope throughout his attempt. He initially tried to run under the official campaign slogan “Let’s Go Brandon - F*** Joe Biden.” (FJB).

The New Jersey Division of Elections ruled that Shapiro could keep “Let’s Go Brandon,” if he agreed to drop “FJB.”

In case you have forgotten, or, didn’t know … the “Let’s Go Brandon” phrase was adopted by many when NASCAR fans were overheard chanting “F*** Joe Biden” … yet, an NBC television commentator changed it to “Let’s Go Brandon” … a fake reference to NASCAR driver Brandon Brown.

It’s placed Brown in an unwinnable and unfair culture war. He was merely granting an interview and innocently got caught up in this whole “Let’s Go Brandon” craze.

SOURCE: David Wildstein, New Jersey Globe.

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