State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, an 86-year-old conservative stalwart who has served in the New Jersey Legislature longer than any other Republican in state history, told Republican officials today that he will seek re-election to a 13th term in the State Senate.
This announcement had been expected, since Cardinale had maintained for more than two years that he planned to run again in 2021. Still, the likely decision of Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) to challenge Cardinale for the Republican nomination had triggered some speculation that he might adjust his plans.
Cardinale said he expects to face a convention.
That sets up a fight between Cardinale and the 49-year-old Schepisi, a five term legislator, at the March GOP convention to award the Bergen County Republican organization line – and possibly in the June GOP primary.
Assuming Schepisi remains in the race – she is leaning toward do that – it will mean an open State Assembly seat in the 39th legislative district this year. Schepisi cannot run for both offices.
Cardinale told the New Jersey Globe that he has been shoring up support all week with calls to local Republican chairs and mayors.
The 39th has not elected a Democrat to the legislature since 1977, but Joe Biden won the district last year by 6,280 votes, 52%-47%.