Home>Campaigns>Arnone won’t run for Senate against Gopal in 2023

Monmouth County Commissioner Director Tom Arnone. (Photo: Monmouth County Board of Commissioners).

Arnone won’t run for Senate against Gopal in 2023

Popular county commissioner says he can get more done in Monmouth County than in Trenton

By David Wildstein, December 22 2022 5:32 pm

Monmouth County Commissioner Director Tom Arnone, one of the county’s most popular vote-getters, has decided not to challenge State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) next year, leaving Republicans without the candidate at the top of their wish list in one of the state’ most competitive legislative districts.

“I am not going to be running,” Arnone told the New Jersey Globe.  “I love my commissioner job.  We do great things in Monmouth County and I think we make a difference.”

A former mayor of the City of Neptune, Arnone was re-elected to a fifth term as county commissioner in November by a huge margin, outpolling Democrat Kristal Dias by 38,288 votes.

Arnone acknowledged giving a challenge to Gopal tremendous consideration.

“I thought about it,” he said.  “But we get stuff done here in Monmouth County.”

Gopal, a former Monmouth County Democratic Chairman, wrestled the 11th district Senate seat away from three-term incumbent Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) in 2017 by 4,158 votes, 43.6% to 46.4%.   He was re-elected to a second term last year by 2,682 votes, 42%-48%, against a political newcomer, Lori Annetta.  Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy lost the 11th by over 5,000 votes.

While Gopal held on, Republicans flipped two Assembly seats in the 11th district, with Marilyn Piperno (R-Colts Neck) and Kim Eulner (R-Shrewsbury) narrowly ousting a pair of three-term Assembly incumbents, Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Joann Downey (D-Freehold).

Piperno and Eulner are both potential GOP Senate candidates against Gopal.

Legislative redistricting made the 11th district just slightly better for Democrats, but it remain among the most winnable in the state for Republicans.

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