U.S. Marine combat veteran Nick De Gregorio will not seek the Republican nomination for State Senate to take on State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus) in the 38th district this year.
“In a Republic, there can be no greater compliment than to be asked by your fellow citizens to represent them in public office,” said De Gregorio. “It is with sincere regret that I cannot heed the call at this time.”
De Gregorio, who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, ran for Congress last year in New Jersey’s 5th district but lost the GOP primary to investment banker Frank Pallotta by 1,461 votes, 50%-46%.
He had been widely viewed as the strongest Republican challenger to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff); Gottheimer saw that too and invested some money in reaching out to GOP primary voters in a way that may have helped put Pallotta over the top. In the general election, Gottheimer painted Pallotta as an extremist and beat him by ten percentage points.
“As a Marine and a Congressional candidate, my family has borne the brunt of my service to our country and communities,” said De Gregorio. “This is a mission I will forever hold dear, but now is the time to take a moment away from the arena to be the father and husband they deserve.”
The only path to a Republican majority in the State Senate this year includes taking out Lagana in a district that favors Democrats.
Letters of intent to seek the Bergen County Republican organization line are due by February 1, and so far, no candidate has formally entered the race. Former Assemblyman Guy Talarico (R-Oradell) told the New Jersey Globe that he is considering a challenge to Lagana.
Glen Rock businessman Barry Wilkes is seeking the GOP nomination for State Assembly in the 38th against incumbents Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn) and Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield). He scored substantial, bringing in over $25,000 since joining the race at the end of November.
De Gregorio pledged to back the GOP effort to flip the 38th.
“For those local Republicans who choose to enter: I stand ready to support you,” he said. “It is only through unity that we can fight off Governor Murphy’s attacks on affordability and our kids.”
Pallotta is making his third bid for public office in three years, announcing a bid for president of the Mahwah Republican Club. The election was scheduled for this evening, and so far, Pallotta had no opposition.