Former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi (R-Vineland) says he will decide if he will enter the race for the Republican State Senate nomination by the end of the year.
“It’s still exploratory right now,” Fiocchi told the New Jersey Globe. “I’m still thinking about it.”
The incumbent 1st district senator, Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis), is leaving Trenton to take his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The vacancy will trigger a November 2019 special election for the remaining 26 months of his term. Democrats are expected to pick Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) to fill the vacancy at a special election convention in January, and as their candidate in the June primary.
If Fiocchi decides to run for Senate, he would face Cumberland County Republican Chairman Michael Testa, Jr. in the primary. Testa has the backing of Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr.
There is some bad blood between Fiocchi and Testa.
Testa did not support Fiocchi for the Republican nomination for Congress earlier this year in the race for the open seat Van Drew eventually flipped Democratic. A week after the primary, Fiocchi challenged Testa for county chairman but lost.
Fiocchi rejected the idea that he could seek a return to the Assembly, perhaps on a ticket with Testa.
“My interest is running for Senate,” he said.
Fiocchi, 66, was elected to the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders in 2010 and to the State Assembly in 2013. He lost his bid for re-election to a second term in 2015.