Assemblyman John Catalano (R-Brick) will not seek re-election to a third term and instead will seek the Republican nomination for mayor of Brick, the state’s 13th-largest municipality.
Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated the popular Democratic mayor, John Ducey, to serve as a Superior Court Judge, which will trigger a special election for the remaining two years of his term.
“I’ve lived in Brick half of my life. I raised my daughter here. I have a business here. I’ve always wanted to be mayor,” Catalano told the New Jersey Globe. “By being mayor, I can give back to my community. I loved being in the Assembly. Now it’s a new chapter.”
Catalano would become the 16th sitting legislator not to seek re-election this year and one of four to instead seek local office.
His running mate, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Toms River), faces a challenge for the Ocean County organization line this year.
It’s widely assumed that Brick will retain its Assembly seat; Ocean County GOP Vice Chair Ruthanne Scaturro, a former Brick councilwoman, and Cathy Lindenbaum, the former state president of the New Jersey PTA and a former Brick school board member, had filed for the seat in advance of Catalano’s decision to seek higher office.
Challenging McGuckin for the Toms River seat are former Republican Club President Geri Ambrosio and school board member Ashley Lamb.
There is also speculation that two other Republicans, Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra and Samantha DeAlmeida, the president of Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey and a Brick resident, will also screen for Assembly seats.
It will be up to Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore to decide if he wants to reopen the February 1 filing deadline to allow new candidates to enter the race.
Catalano was elected to the Assembly in 2019 following the retirement of Assemblyman David Wolfe (R-Brick). He and McGuckin have easily won primary and general election contests.
Ducey has received signoff from Ocean County’s three Republican senators and is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month. He is poised for a speedy confirmation.
There will also be a mad dash to submit petitions to compete at the Monmouth County GOP convention in advance of tomorrow’s deadline.