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Somerset County Freeholder Brian Gallagher. (Photo: Somerset County.)

Gallagher opts out of Assembly run in 16th district

By David Wildstein, January 14 2021 6:06 pm

Former Somerset County Freeholder Brian Gallagher has decided not to seek a State Assembly seat in the 16th district.

“No plans at this time to run for Assembly,” Gallagher told the New Jersey Globe.

Republicans are still recruiting Assembly candidates to run with State Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg) on a ticket the will likely be headed by a former Republican assemblyman from the 16th, Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough).

A former Somerville mayor, Gallagher had said in December that he would consider running for the legislature.

He lost his freeholder seat in 2020, but he ran seven percentage points ahead of President Donald Trump in the municipalities in the 16th and just narrowly lost the legislative district to his Democratic rivals.

The GOP lost one of the 16th district Assembly seats in 2015, when Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) ousted Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-Readington) by just 78 votes.

Two years later, when Republican Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough) left the legislature to run for governor, Democrat Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) captured the open Assembly seat.

It’s likely that there will be one open Assembly seat in the 16th.

Zwicker has told party leaders that he will challenge Bateman for the Senate in 2021, and Freiman is also mulling a Senate bid.

Gallagher as mayor of Somerville from 2004 to 2017 and as a Somerville councilman from 2001 to 2003.  He was elected freeholder in 2017 and leaves office on January 1.

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