David Richter, ex-CEO of Philadelphia-based Hill International, the global project management and former claims consulting firm, has won the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Richter defeated Kate Gibbs, a former Burlington County politician who also served as deputy director of state-based operating engineers' union Local 825's management-labor group, to win the party primary.
According to reports, he won 67% of votes to his opponent's 33%, and will face incumbent Democrat Andy Kim for the seat on Nov. 3. The district covers an area in southern New Jersey that includes Atlantic City. But a final tally will not be known until next week, due to the large number of mail-in votes still to be verified, state officials said.
“I’m not a politician, this is my first election, but I already know that running for Congress is tough, and it is only going to get tougher from here as we move on to challenge Andy Kim in the general election," said Richter in a statement. "Just like in the primary race, we fully expect to be outspent in the general election, but ... we are building a grassroots campaign like this district has never seen before and I have no doubt that we will defeat Andy Kim.”
Richter said he had self-funded his campaign.
The former executive announced his congressional candidacy in August 2019, with plans then to be the Republican nominee in the state's second congressional district. He changed districts after the then-Democratic candidate Jeff Van Drew switched parties and won support from President Donald Trump.
According to media reports, Richter's district change also was backed by Trump and the state Republican party.
Richter, a degreed civil engineer, MBA and attorney, has supported the Trump economic platform, campaigning for more federal investment in infrastructure. “I understand what it takes to get things built,” he said. “In Congress, I plan to work hard to ensure the federal government is investing in South Jersey’s infrastructure — expanding our transportation network, keeping our environment clean and maintaining our coastline.”
Gibbs also advocated for more infrastructure investment during the campaign. In her concession speech, she noted the centennial of women’s suffrage and hoped her campaign encourages other women to “challenge the good ‘ol boys club, run for office, and make sure their voices are heard.”
Richter was a 22-year veteran of Hill International, founded by his father, Irvin Richter. It became a New York Stock Exchange-listed global public company with more than 4,300 employees. Richter served as CEO from 2014 until 2017, when he stepped down and left the firm amid pressure from an activist investor over losses and lower shareholder returns.
Richter’s exit followed the delayed sale of Hill’s claims unit to a U.K.-based private equity firm for $140 million. He formed an asset management fund called Richter Capital LLC, of which he had been chairman and CEO.