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Old Bridge school board president Salvatore Giordano. (Photo: Salvatore Giordano via Facebook).

23-year-old school board member challenging Clifton, Sauickie in 12th district

Salvatore Giordano will take on incumbents in GOP Assembly primary

By David Wildstein, February 13 2023 2:01 pm

The 23-year-old Old Bridge Board of Education president will seek the Republican nomination for State Assembly in the 12th district, where incumbents Rob Clifton (R-Matawan) and Alex Sauickie (R-Jackson) are seeking re-election.

Salvatore Giordano, born during State Sen. Sam Thompson’s second term as an assemblyman, was 19 when he won his first term on the Old Bridge school board in 2019.  He defeated Frank Webber by 21 votes.

He was re-elected in 2022, outdistancing his nearest competitor in a 12-candidate race for three seats by 95 votes.    Last month, he became board president after a 5-4 vote.

Against Clifton and Sauickie, Giordano faces an uphill fight.

Giordano is not affiliated with any political party, voting records show.  He registered to vote upon turning 18 in 2018 and voted in the last five general elections, but he has never participated in a primary election.

“My support is behind Rob Clifton and Alex Sauickie,” said Middlesex GOP Chairman Rob Bengivenga.  “He’s not even a registered Republican, so I don’t know what makes him think he’d be considered.

The New Jersey State Constitution requires members of the State Assembly to be at least 21 years old. Peter Shapiro (D-South Orange) remains the youngest person to serve in the New Jersey Legislature; at 23, he ousted Assemblyman Rocco Neri (D-Irvington) as an off-the-line candidate in the 1975 Democratic primary in the heavily-Democratic 28th district. John Hartmann (R-West Windsor) was 24 when he unseated incumbent Gerald Naples (D-Trenton) in the 1991 anti-Florio Republican wave, and Albert Stephens (R-Bayonne) was 24 when he rode Warren Harding’s coattails to a single term in the legislature in 1920.

The senator from the 12th district,  87-year-old Samuel Thompson (D-Old Bridge), switched parties today and is seeking re-election as a Democrat.

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