The former chief operating officer of Omnicom Group, a multi-billion dollar advertising and public relations firm that is one of the largest in the world will take on a two-term Democratic state senator in one of the state’s most politically competitive districts, potentially giving the GOP the kind of top-tier challenger they’ve been searching for.
Steve Dnistrian, a 58-year-old corporate and non-profit executive from Colts Neck, announced today that he would seek the Republican nomination for the New Jersey State Senate in the 11th district against incumbent Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch).
“I’ve decided to run because, like so many people; I’ve had enough of Phil Murphy’s state mandates, Vin Gopal’s poor judgment and lack of real-world experience, and policy decisions and directives that defy business sense and common sense in every way imaginable,” Dnistrian said. “The constituents and families of LD-11 deserve much better.”
He said it was time for a change.
“Unlike the incumbent, I have no interest in becoming a career politician,” Dnistrian said. Instead, I will bring real leadership, grounded in real-world experience, to the State Senate in service to the constituents of LD-11.”
Dnistrian has served on the Zoning Board, Environmental Commission, and Republican county committee in Colts Neck and on the Monmouth County Board of Taxation.
In addition to a business career at Johnson & Johnson, Dnistrian served as an executive vice president and board member of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Omnicon owns Mercury, one of the state’s top public affairs firms.
In his announcement, Dnistrian staked out some traditional conservative ground.
“We need less government in our lives, not more; strong law and order, not attacks on our police officers; financial discipline, not reckless spending; and schools that focus on teaching our children fundamental education, not radical social agendas,” stated Dnistrian. “We are all experiencing the downside of Phil Murphy’s and Vin Gopal’s destructive policies, which have eroded public safety in our neighborhoods, forced inappropriate policies into our schools, and made life increasingly unaffordable for everyone in New Jersey.
Dnistrian comes with a compelling life story. The son of two immigrants – his mother was born in Ireland, and his father came from Ukraine after “enduring years in German forced labor camps – he grew up in Jersey City and graduated from Northeastern University. He’s lived in Colts Neck for fourteen years, and all three of his adult children attended Red Bank Catholic High School.
“With the full support of the Monmouth County Republican Committee, I look forward to working alongside our dynamic assemblywomen, Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner, to win this race and return full legislative control of LD-11 to our Republican Party,” Steve said. “Monmouth County has become the model for what government should look like in New Jersey. When elected, I will work hard to ensure that we have more Monmouth in our lives and much less Trenton. That’s the bottom line.”
The deadline to file for the Monmouth County Republican convention is Thursday, and the convention is set for February 23.
One other candidate, Sara Haleva, is considering a challenge to Gopal.