Home>Governor>Caride headed to Superior Court, Zimmerman is leading candidate for cabinet post

Commissioner of Banking and Insurance Marlene Caride. (Photo: Office of the Governor/Edwin J. Torres).

Caride headed to Superior Court, Zimmerman is leading candidate for cabinet post

Commissioner of Banking and Insurance has been angling for a judgeship for more than a year

By David Wildstein, May 19 2023 10:54 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy intends to nominate a member of his cabinet, Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, to serve as a Superior Court Judge.

The leading candidate to replace Caride is Justin Zimmerman, the Department of Banking and Insurance’s chief of staff, the New Jersey Globe has learned.   Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), who had been viewed as a possible successor for the post, is no longer interested, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.

Caride’s nomination has been in the works for nearly a year.   If she receives signoff from the four state senators from Bergen County, she could be on a path to a confirmation vote next month.

A former municipal prosecutor, Caride was elected to the State Assembly in 2011 after Kevin Ryan (D-Nutley) was redistricted out of the 36th district.  She was re-elected three times.   Murphy nominated Caride to serve in his cabinet after the 2017 gubernatorial election.

If confirmed by the Senate, Caride could serve on the bench until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in August 2033.

It’s common for governors to promote from within to fill vacant cabinet posts as they approach the midway point of their second term.   It also won’t be unusual if those commissioners serve on an acting basis for the duration, rather than face the encumbrances of a Senate confirmation.

Zimmerman, 40, spent eight years as a policy staffer for the Senate President Pro-Tempore Nia Gill (D-Montclair) before joining the Murphy administration in 2018.   He had previously worked for Gov. Jon Corzine and New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.

Prior to entering state government, Zimmerman was a field organizer for MoveOn in Pennsylvania during the 2004 presidential campaign, and for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in 2005.

To be confirmed by the Senate, Zimmerman would need approval from Essex’s four senators, plus State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville).  Pennacchio represents Zimmerman’s hometown of Verona.   Next year, Verona will shift to the 40th district, where another Republican, State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), is expected to win another term.

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