Robert Auth (R-Old Tappan) has dropped his bid for State Senate in the 39th district and fill run for re-election to his State Assembly seat, clearing the way for Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) to move up to the State Senate.
“I wanted party unity,” Auth said. “I’m not saying I couldn’t have won, but I’m trying to avoid a party fight. It’s not completely about me.”
Auth announced his Senate run on Saturday evening, saying he would challenge Schepisi at a March 9 special election convention to replace Gerald Cardinale, the 12-term Republican State Senator who died last month at age 86.
Cardinale’s widow, former Demarest Councilwoman Carole Cardinale, endorsed Auth, a former aide to her late husband and a longtime friend.
Schepisi, who had been challenging Cardinale for the Republican nomination prior to the senator’s death, is now unopposed for the organization line and is her party’s presumptive nominee in the general election against Democrat Ruth Dugan.
Auth has received assurances that he will have party support for the Assembly.
Saddle River Councilman John Azzariti, Upper Saddle River Councilwoman DeAnne DeFuccio and Closter Mayor John Glidden are competing for Schepisi’s open Assembly seat.
Schepisi could be sworn in as early as March 11, when the State Senate has a quorum call scheduled.
That would trigger a special election convention for her Assembly seat between 7-35 days from the date of her resignation.