Former Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levin will decide whether to run for governor later this week.
“I’m almost definitely going to sit down with myself — maybe an intelligent person instead, but with myself at least — and make a decision this week,” Levine told the New Jersey Globe Monday night.
He said he’ll choose whether to launch a campaign to unseat Gov. Phil Murphy sometime around the middle of the week.
Whatever decision Levine makes will be affected by former Republican Chairman Doug Steinhardt’s withdrawal from the gubernatorial race.
The New Jersey Globe first reported Steinhardt was dropping his gubernatorial bid Monday evening. The Warren County Republican chairman said he was pulling out of the race, citing unforeseen professional obligations.
“It very well may come into play,” he said when asked if Steinhardt’s departure would affect the exploratory committee to seek the Republican gubernatorial nod he launched on Jan. 1.
Levine said he looked forward to Steinhardt being in the race.
“He’s a good guy, and I’m sure he had good ideas to bring to the table, which I hope he brings to the table anyway because, hey, can’t have too many ideas,” he said. “We don’t like them, we don’t use them.”
The Warren County chairman’s withdrawal leaves former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, another Somerset County Republican, the frontrunner for the GOP nod to take on Gov. Phil Murphy, though other candidates still have some time to get into the race.
Perennial candidate Hirsh Singh is also running for governor.
Note: The law replacing freeholders with county commissioners was not retroactive. Accordingly, the New Jersey Globe will refer to anyone who previously held the post of freeholder prior to the effective date of the law as former freeholders since they never held the post of county commissioner.