Assemblyman David Wolfe (R-Brick), the most senior member of the New Jersey General Assembly, will not seek re-election to a 15th term in the legislature, he confirmed today.
Wolfe, 76, said he informed the Assembly Republican leadership today of his intention to retire at the completion of his current term.
“I think it is time for me to be more involved in the lives of my family members, and I am looking forward to spending more time with them,” Wolfe said.
He was first elected in 1991, defeating Democratic incumbent Marlene Lynch Ford by 13,709 votes in a statewide Republican landslide created by opposition to Gov. Jim Florio’s $2.8 billion tax increase.
Wolfe’s seat is likely to remain Republican.
Republicans have a huge registration edge in the 10th district, with 15,270 more Republicans than Democrats.
Dan Rodrick, who was elected to the Toms River council as a Democrat in 2017 and switched parties in 2018, is reportedly eyeing the Assembly seat.
It might be a tough sell for Republicans to give all three legislative seats to Toms River. Brick has a population over 75,000.
Wolfe is the third Republican legislator to retire. Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) is giving up the Assembly seat he’s held since 1995 to run for Morris County Surrogate, and Amy Handlin (R-Middletown) is stepping down after fourteen years in the Assembly.
In a statement released this afternoon, Wolfe called his time in the Legislature “one of the greatest honors of my life.”
“My goal as an elected official always has been to help my constituency to have a better life for their families. Education has been a passion of mine, and I am proud of my role as Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee and Vice Chairman for the Joint Legislative Committee on the Public Schools. I’ll never forget all of the classrooms I visited, or my ‘blueberry kids’ who learned about the legislative process by helping me to pass the law designating the state fruit,” he said. “I’m also proud of our work to protect the Jersey Shore for generations to come, including the clean-up of the Barnegat Bay and the relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. As the author of the original Blue Acres bill, I am extremely proud of the success the program has had to preserve and enhance New Jersey’s waterways.”
He also paid tribute to his wife, Carol, for supporting him during a political career that began with his election to the Brick Township Council in 1974.