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State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Oxford). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Doherty will seek re-election in 2023

Conservative GOP senator could be Senate Judiciary Chairman if Republicans take majority under better map

By David Wildstein, May 25 2022 10:00 am

State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Oxford), one of the most conservative members of the New Jersey Legislature, will seek re-election to a sixth term in 2023, ending speculation that he might retire.

“I’m going to run for re-election in 2023,” said Doherty, who said he spoke with Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho and former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. this morning to inform them of his plans.

The 59-year-old West Point graduate is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Doherty would be in line to chair the powerful panel if the GOP wins control of the upper house next year under a legislative map that creates enough politically competitive districts to give Republicans a narrow path to a majority.

“I like the way things are headed.  Steve Oroho is doing a fantastic job as leader,” Doherty told the New Jersey Globe.  “We have a caucus that is setting the right notes.  It’s a good trend nationally for Republicans.

Doherty will run for re-election in the 23rd district, which includes nearly all of Warren County and parts of Hunterdon and Somerset, where his running mates are Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio (R-Hackettstown) and Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin).

Peterson is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district in the June 7 primary election against Kean and five others.  If Peterson wins, it will trigger a January special election convention for his Assembly seat.  If he’s unsuccessful, he could seek to keep his Assembly seat.

Doherty won a special election for State Senate in 2009, defeating incumbent Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan) in the Republican primary for the seat left vacant earlier in the year when Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) resigned to take his seat in Congress.

Karrow had won a January 2009 special election convention against Doherty for Lance’s Senate seat by 52 votes, 195 to 143.  Doherty won the June primary by 997 votes, 52.4% to 47.6%.

He had served as a Warren County Freeholder from 2001 to 2004 – he unseated Democratic incumbent Ann Stone by 11 points — and as an assemblyman from 2002 to 2009.

Doherty was re-elected by a 61%-39% margin last year against Democrat Denise King.

After thirteen years out of office, Karrow is seeking a political comeback this year as a candidate for mayor of Flemington.  She faces Robert F. Shore in Republican primary.  The winner will take on Democratic Mayor Betsy Driver in the general election.

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