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State Sen. Sam Thompson. (Photo" Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

After party switch, Democrats accept Thompson into their Senate caucus

87-year-old lawmaker appears to have a clear path to Democratic nomination

By David Wildstein, February 21 2023 6:47 pm

Senate Democrats have admitted their newest member into their caucus: Sam Thompson (D-Old Bridge), who switched parties last week.

“After a multitude of extended meetings with Senator Sam Thompson, as well as members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, we want to extend a warm welcome to Senator Thompson as he joins our Majority Caucus,” said Senate President Nicholas Scutari.  “He will bring extensive experience to our caucus as we continue to welcome those with differing perspectives to the big tent that is the Democratic Party.”

Thompson, an 87-year-old former Middlesex County GOP chairman and a two-time delegate to the Republican National Convention pledged to Donald Trump, has spent more than 27 years as a conservative, pro-life, pro-gun state legislator.  He’s seeking re-election as a Democrat in one of the state’s most Republican legislative districts.

“Sam Thompson is a hard-working legislator who has demonstrated an ability to work in a bipartisan way in support of many shared New Jersey priorities,” Scutari said.  “We look forward to his dedication to his legislative work as a member of the Senate Majority.”

So far, Thompson has no opposition for the Democratic Senate nomination in the 13th legislative district.  The filing deadline to compete at the Middlesex County Democratic convention is tomorrow.

Against Republican Assemblymen Rob Clifton (R-Matawan) and Alex Sauickie (R-Jackson), Democrats are expected to run Raya Arbiol, a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman from Old Bridge, and Paul Sarti, a pensions benefits specialist with the state Treasury Department from Jackson.

Clifton defeated Arbiol in 2021 by over 23,000 votes, and Sauckie beat Sarti in a 2022 special election by more than 25,000 votes.

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