Bob Andrzejczak, awarded the Purple Heart after losing his leg when a grenade exploded during his service as an Army sergeant in Iraq, was sworn in today as the new state senator from the 1st district.
Democrats picked Andrzejczak to replace Jeff Van Drew, who resigned on January 1 to take a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
At age 32, he replaces State Sen. Vin Gopal as the youngest member of the State Senate. Andrzejczak is also one of three senators who served in the military during time of war; the others are Christopher Brown (Persian Gulf) and Ronald Rice (Vietnam).
Andrzejczak is expected to run in a November special election to fill the remaining 26 months of Van Drew’s term.
Republicans plan to make a bid to regain the Senate seat they held for 40 years until Van Drew ousted incumbent Nicholas Asselta in 2007.
The district includes all of Cape May, part of Cumberland (including Vineland), and three towns in Atlantic. Donald Trump won 55% in the 1st district in 2016. Republicans have a slight advantage in voter registration – 44,004 to 40,159, with 62,695 unaffiliated voters.
Cumberland County GOP chairman Michael Testa, Jr. has already entered the race. He has the backing of Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. and State Sen. Christopher Brown.