Will a square-off with Booker be Isola’s CD3 Consolation Prize?

Republican CD3 candidate Chris Isola impressed members of the screening committee Saturday who ultimately backburnered the retired U.S. Marine in favor of former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur.

Faced with competitors who do not hail from the Third District, including the front-running MacArthur and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, Isola advertises himself as CD3-centric.

But party leaders see him potentially as a statewide prospect, a consolation prize for excelling while not ultimately triumphing in the CD3 screening, according to some sources; an acknowledgment of madcap GOP scrambling for a U.S. Senate contender in March, according to others.

MacArthur won the support of the Ocean Republicans’ screening committee, which this week made its recommendation to the Ocean County GOP Committee as a whole; a move complemented by the Burlington portion of the district’s declaration of support for MacArthur.

High level sources in the party say the defeated Isola, who works in the financial services industry and raised a couple hundred thousand toward his congressional campaign, could get repackaged as early as this election cycle.

PolitickerNJ tried but could not reach the candidate for comment, to gauge whether or not he intends to face the entire GOP Committee later this month in pursuit of the CD3 seat.

However, sources insisted there is interest in powerful party circles in recruiting Isola for a U.S. Senate run at a time when the party continues to struggle to find a credible challenger to incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Will a square-off with Booker be Isola’s CD3 Consolation Prize?