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Assemblyman Ralph Caputo. (Photo: Ralph Caputo via Twitter).

Caputo plans to run again in 2023

Assemblyman is only sitting legislator to have served in the 1960s

By Joey Fox, March 24 2022 4:26 pm

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Nutley), whose Essex County district was significantly reshaped in this year’s redistricting process, said today that he “absolutely” intends on running for re-election to the Assembly in 2023.

A native of Nutley, Caputo was moved from the Newark-based 28th district into the 34th district, giving him more suburban towns and pairing him with Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake, who is considered likely to run for the new district’s open Senate seat. Caputo is no stranger to redistricting processes – in 2011, new district lines forced him to move from Belleville to Nutley – and said that he’s excited to work with the new towns he’ll represent.

“I’ve been around a long time, and this happens now and then,” he said. “I have credibility in the community. I’m going to be working with Britnee Timberlake… Britnee and I have a good relationship, and hopefully we’re going to be able to do a lot of good things for the district.”

At age 81, Caputo is among the oldest members of the legislature, and has the distinction of being the only member to have served in the 1960s. Caputo was first elected as a Republican in 1967 – six years before even former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) arrived in Trenton – but he lost a Republican primary in 1971.

After more than 30 years out of elected office and a number of failed comeback attempts, Caputo was elected Essex County Freeholder in 2002 as a Democrat. He then went on to join a Mayor Cory Booker-backed Assembly ticket with now-Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark) in 2007; the pair unseated Assemblymembers Craig Stanley (D-Newark) and Oadline Truitt (D-Newark) in the Democratic primary, and both still serve in the legislature today.

The Essex County Republican Assembly delegation in 1968, left to right: C. Richard Fiore (R-Newark), Ralph Caputo (R-Newark), Thomas Kean (R-Livingston), Kenneth Wilson (R-West Orange), Herbert Rinaldi (R-Glen Ridge), Philip Kaltenbacher (R-Short Hills) and John Dennis (R-Verona). Photo from the Ace Alagna collection courtesy of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, Seton Hall University Libraries, South Orange.


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