With a filing deadline just three days away, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) is leaning toward a challenge to 12-term incumbent Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) in the 39th district Republican State Senate primary, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
“I will be submitting a letter of intent,” Schepisi said.
Several Republicans speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Schepisi more likely to run for Senate than not.
Schepisi said on Tuesday that she has been seeking support to win Bergen County Republican organization line at their March convention.
Cardinale, 86, told the NJ Globe that he has been making calls shoring up support for a re-election bid.
He has a virtual meeting set up with party leaders on Saturday. Cardinale, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1979 and the Senate in 1981, has said he plans to seek re-election this year.
The filing deadline to appear before the screening committee and run at the convention is February 1.
The 49-year-old Schepisi must decide by then if she’ll forgo a sixth term in the State Assembly to take a shot at the Senate seat. She can’t run for both.
If she’s forced to give up her Assembly seat, Schepisi has the option of challenging Cardinale in a Republican primary if she doesn’t win the convention.
Similarly, Cardinale could run off the line in the June primary if he doesn’t win the convention fight.
Passaic County has not yet scheduled their screening committee. The county chairman, Peter Murphy, has told at least one candidate that he will abide by the choice of the GOP municipal chairs in Bloomingdale, Ringwood and Wanaque, the three Passaic municipalities in the 39th.
This story was updated at 10:30 AM with comment from Schepisi.