Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan) wants his Senate primary rival to commit to backing the Republican the Bergen County GOP will endorse at Tuesday’s convention.
“If Assemblywoman Schepisi truly cares about unity, I offer this simple and clear challenge in full public view — I will support the winner of the county convention and forfeit my right to primary the winner of the March 9th contest ONLY if Assemblywoman Schepisi agrees to do the same if I win,” Auth said. “In other words, if Holly wins on March 9th, I will not force her into a June primary and if I win the convention, she will not force me into a June primary. This agreement is reciprocal.”
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi is running against Auth for late State Sen. Gerald Cardinale’s (R-Demarest) seat in the upper chamber.
The increasingly rancorous fight to succeed Cardinale, who died last month at 86, has been a tumultuous one.
Auth pulled out of the Senate contest Friday, telling the New Jersey Globe he “wanted party unity” and was “trying to avoid a party fight” only to reenter the race hours later with an attack at Bergen County Republican Chairman Jack Zisa, who in a statement sent by Schepisi said the two legislators would run together with Auth seeking re-election to the Assembly.
The move could allow the assemblyman to seek re-election if Schepisi wins the line for Senate at Tuesday’s convention, though it’s not clear whether he could seek organizational support for both the Senate and Assembly. The New Jersey Globe last week reported Schepisi was the convention’s presumptive winner.
“True unity means we put personal ambition aside and act in the best interests of the party: free from threats, duress, coercion, job offers and backroom negotiations,” Auth said. “It means we do not fight one another in expensive primary elections but rather we unite as one to defeat the Democrats in the Fall.”