Former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi will seek the Republican nomination for State Senate in the 1st legislative district, setting up a primary challenge with Cumberland County GOP chairman Michael Testa, Jr.
The winner will take on State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle), who was sworn in yesterday to replace Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis).
“Throughout the last election cycle people from across the district encouraged me to run for this senate seat,” Fiocchi said. “My answer was always that it was not time to talk about the senate seat and that we had to focus on helping Seth Grossman’s congressional campaign. I did exactly that.”
Fiocchi is a former Republican freeholder who served one term as an assemblyman. He sought the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district last year.
“Unfortunately, Seth wasn’t successful, and folks continued to encourage me to make an announcement.” Fiocchi continued, “After careful consideration, many conversations with friends and family and, most recently, listening to Governor Murphy’s State of the State address I have decided now is the time to announce I am running for state Senate in the first legislative district.”
Gov. Phil Murphy appears to be a central theme in Fiocchi’s campaign.
“Frankly, I found it disingenuous that the Governor would thank our veterans for their service knowing that at least $1.2 million was removed from the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs in his state budget yet he could find $2 million for the defense of illegal aliens in this state,” Fiocchi said. “The fact that our former state Senator, our newly anointed state Senator, the Assemblyman in the district nor any candidate for any office in the first district has said a word about this is just as bad. I am truly thankful for the service of our veterans and intend to fight to restore those funds to the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs.
Republicans plan to make a bid to regain the Senate seat they held for 40 years until Van Drew ousted incumbent Nicholas Asselta in 2007.
The district includes all of Cape May, part of Cumberland (including Vineland), and three towns in Atlantic. Donald Trump won 55% in the 1st district in 2016. Republicans have a slight advantage in voter registration – 44,004 to 40,159, with 62,695 unaffiliated voters.
“The Governor spoke a lot about a ‘stronger and fairer’ New Jersey. I see nothing stronger or fairer about raising taxes and will work hard to halt any proposed tax increase.” Fiocchi added, “There is nothing stronger or fairer about turning New Jersey into a sanctuary state, it makes us less safe, I will always stand up for law abiding citizens and the rule of law. Those living in our state illegally should not be given drivers licenses.”
“After a year of Governor Murphy and a lack of leadership in fighting his progressive agenda in the first legislative district New Jersey is neither fairer or stronger to anyone. I intend to go to the state Senate and fight for the hard working, law abiding residents of our district, just as I did as an Assemblyman,” Fiocchi said. “I look forward to an honest, yet spirited, primary election and beyond to an equally tough general election and going back to Trenton to fight hard for our district and all of South Jersey.”