A former Republican state senator from South Jersey was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee for a tenured term as a Superior Court judge.
John Matheussen, 67, was elected to the State Senate in 1991 as part of a Republican wave forged in opposition to Gov. Jim Florio’s $2.8 billion tax increase.
He won the 4th legislative Senate seat that opened when Senate Majority Leader Daniel Dalton opted not to seek re-election. Matheussen defeated Assemblyman Anthony Marsella by 1,435 votes, 52%-48%, four years after losing a State Assembly bid by more than 4,000 votes.
Matheussen was re-elected with 54% in 1993, by 2,649 votes (51%-46%) over Assemblyman Sean Dalton in 1987, and with 58% in 2001.
In 2002, Matheussen sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate for a chance to take on the Democratic incumbent, Bob Torricelli.
He finished third in that primary, winning 18.6% against former West Windsor Mayor Douglas Forrester (44.6%) and State Sen. Diane Allen (36.9%). Matheussen carried only his home county, Gloucester, and did so with 62%.
Matheussen resigned from the Senate in 2003 when Gov. James McGreevey named him executive director of the Delaware River Port Authority.
Gov. Chris Christie nominated Matheussen to the bench in 2014.
Asked which experience he liked best, the Senate or the judiciary, Matheussen would not take the bait.
“They’re both equally rewarding, just slightly different,” Matheussen said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari said that Matheussen’s nomination will be voted on by the full Senate on Thursday, weather permitting.
If confirmed, Matheussen can serve until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on January 30, 2023.