By Matt Friedman | December 5th, 2007 - 6:21pm
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The field of Republican candidates in the seventh congressional is getting more crowded.

Former Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield has decided to run for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson.

“I’m running,” said Hatfield, 54, who has a PhD in microbiology. “I’ve been meeting and talking with people not only in this county but throughout the district, and I think the residents of the district want someone who’s familiar with the issues and who has experience to be an effective advocate for them in Washington.”

Hatfield said that she feels comfortable enough with the support she’s found after working the phones over the last two weeks to run, and said she’ll eventually come out with a list of supporters. She added that her record on the Summit council’s finance committee bears her out as a fiscal conservative.

“I know the district, and I have a proven record of fiscal discipline and responsibility. I think that the 2006 elections demonstrated that the residents of this district, like me, are very frustrated with the status quo,” said Hatfield.

Hatfield joins fellow Union County resident Marty Marks, the mayor of Scotch Plains; former gubernatorial daughter Kate Whitman; and former Hillsborough Deputy Mayor Chris Venis as candidates who have already declared their intention to run for the seat. Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, the presumptive favorite, has said he’s “extremely likely” to run, while Assembly Minority Conference Leader Peter Biondi is considering a bid as well. Also mulling candidacies in the district are deodorant heir Will Mennen, Warren Township Mayor Victor Sordillo, medical doctor Matt Smith, and former professional wrestler and conservative activist Michael Illions.

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