With about one-third of the newly drawn 40th legislative district now sitting in Essex County, State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) and Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff) will seek re-election next year on a ticket with Essex County GOP Chairman Al Barlas running for the State Assembly – a move that has the support of party leaders in Bergen, Passaic and Essex.
The move leaves Assemblyman Kevin Rooney (R-Wyckoff) without a seat next year as party leaders adjust for the realities of legislative redistricting that puts seven Essex County municipalities into the district.
The new slate has the backing of Bergen County GOP Chairman Jack Zisa, Passaic County GOP Chairman Peter Murphy, Essex County GOP Vice Chair Mary Devon O’Brien and Bergen GOP District 40 Chairman Drita McNamara.
“Reapportionment has changed our district, adding new communities we haven’t served before; with the addition of 6 new Essex County towns, we are excited to welcome Al to the team,” Corrado and DePhillips said in a statement. “Thanks to his deep knowledge of the communities in Essex County, as well as his prior service in LD 40, there is no better person to add to the team.”
Corrado and DePhillips said the revamped ticket “now has a geographic balance that will ensure all three counties and 15 municipalities are properly represented.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Al on the ticket and to hit the campaign trail,” they said.
Barlas, who served as Republican chairman of the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission that drew the new map, has been as chief of staff to Corrado and her predecessor, State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove), along with then-Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver). Born in Pakistan, Barlas would become the first South Asian American Republican to serve in the legislature, and potentially brings diversity to the Republican Party in Trenton.
“I’m honored to join this team alongside true public servants in Kristin Corrado and Chris DePhillips,” Barlas said. “I never thought life would bring me to seek public office, but after having served in government, I know that public service is my passion.”
He said that as an assemblyman, he intends to join Corrado and DePhillips “in their fight against the reckless fiscal policies that have led to crushing taxes, skyrocketing inflation and out-of-control spending.”
“ I will always stand with law enforcement and make sure that our streets are safe,” Barlas stated. And, as a parent of two young children, I will work to ensure that all of our children get the best possible education to pursue their American Dream.”
Redistricting moved Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park and Waldwick in Bergen and Pompton Lakes in Passaic out of the 40th district and replaced them with Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, Verona and West Caldwell in Essex, and Hawthorne in Passaic into the district.
It’s not immediately clear if Rooney will seek re-election.