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Former Assemblyman Matthew Milam (D-Vineland).

Milam launches trial balloon for comeback with Albano

Democrats unlikely to back Van Drew supporters for legislature next year

By David Wildstein, November 11 2020 10:14 am

Two former Democratic assemblymen from Vineland floated a trial balloon on Facebook hinting that they might seek a return to the legislature next year.

On Facebook Matthew Milam teased the possibility of teaming up with Nelson Albano in the 1st legislative district.

“2021 – Stay Tuned,” Milam wrote in a post that tagged Albano and included an old photo of the two holding up a campaign sign from a past campaign.

The possible comeback for Milam and Albano, who lost re-election in different years, was first reported by The Bob & Steve Show, a weekly radio show popular in South Jersey.

Milam and Albano will have a tough time getting Democratic party support if they want to run.

The two longtime members of The Van Drew Team backed Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) for re-election this year, and both wrote personal checks to Van Drew’s campaign after the congressman announced his party switch.

Albano was handpicked by Van Drew to run with him for State Assembly in 2005. He ousted Assemblyman Jack Gibson (R-Sea Isle) by 7,176 votes.

When Van Drew ran for the State Senate in 2007, he picked Milam to fill his old Assembly seat.

Albano got caught up in a “do you know who I am?” controversy with police unions  that caused him to be fined by the ethics committee and  lose re-election in 2013 to Republican Sam Fiocchi (R-Vineland).

“Troopergate is hard to forget,” said Steve Kush, a Republican strategist who co-hosts The Bob & Steve Show. “Mr. Albano came close to destroying the career of a State Trooper.”

If not for the Troop

Milam resigned from the Assembly for personal reasons in 2013 and was replaced by Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle). He returned after Van Drew’s 2018 election to Congress triggered a move by Andrzejczak to the Senate.

Milam and incumbent Bruce Land (D-Vineland) lost their seats in 2019 to Republicans Erik Simonsen (R-Lower) and Antwan McClellan (R-Ocean City).

Democrats are not entirely certain they will contest the Republican incumbents next year on a legislative slate headed by State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland).

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