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State Sen. Steve Oroho. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe).

Oroho elected Senate minority leader

Edward Durr, who appears likely to oust Senate President Steve Sweeney, participated in his first GOP Caucus meeting

By Joey Fox and David Wildstein, November 04 2021 11:08 am

Steve Oroho, a five-term Republican from Sussex County, was elected Senate Minority Leader on Thursday.

Oroho will succeed Thomas Kean, Jr., who did not seek re-election to the Senate this year and will challenge Rep. Tom Malinowski in a 2022 congressional run.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve my colleagues in this new role as Senate Republicans work to get New Jersey back on track,” Oroho said. “We want New Jerseyans to know that our caucus heard the message sent by voters on Election Day loud and clear. We’ll work tirelessly to ensure that government respects people’s rights, addresses their concerns, and makes living in the Garden State more affordable for everyone.”

Oroho had faced two other Republicans vying for the job, State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) and State Sen. Bob Singer (R-Lakewood), but appeared to clinch a winning coalition late last week.

Jean Stanfield (R-Westhampton), who ousted incumbent Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) in the 8th district, and Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township), who held the 2nd district seat, participated in the Senate GOP reorganization in Trenton.

So did Edward Durr (R-Swedesboro), who holds a 2,096-vote lead over Senate President Steve Sweeney in the 3rd district, and Lori Annetta, who trails Democratic incumbent Vin Gopal by 1,052 votes in the 11th.

Michael Pappas, who is 2,820 votes behind Democrat Andrew Zwicker in the 16th district Senate race, was invited to join Senate Republicans in Trenton but was unable to attend.

Singer will serve as deputy minority leader and the ranking Republican on the Senate Health Committee. Pennacchio will move up from minority whip to deputy leader. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) will be the new minority whip.

Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) will again be the Republican Conference Leader. Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) will serve as deputy conference leader.

Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) is the new budget officer, a post he held in the Assembly from 2011 to 2017. Oroho had previously occupied that post.

The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee will again be Michael Doherty (R-Oxford). He assumed the post last winter following the death of Gerald Cardinale.

“Our new caucus leadership team is energized to take up the fight for New Jerseyans,” Oroho said. “We’re ready to be the voice of reason in Trenton that people deserve.”

Oroho said Senate Republicans “sincerely hope that Jack Ciattarelli emerges victorious when all the votes are counted to give us a strong partner for reform in the Governor’s Office.”

“His common-sense message clearly resonated across New Jersey in places that Republicans don’t often reach,” Oroho said. “We have to seize this opportunity to expand the new relationships he helped build to the benefit of every New Jerseyan.”

Assembly Republicans, meanwhile, are in the process of sorting out their own complex leadership battle. Assemblywoman Nancy Muñoz (R-Summit), who seemed to pull together a winning coalition before it crumbled, and Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-Hackettstown) will face off today to lead the larger-than-expected Assembly Republican caucus.

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