Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Montclair) said today that he will run for re-election to the Assembly in the 27th legislative district, a substantially redrawn district that puts the longtime Essex County politician with a new set of running mates.
Giblin, who turned 76 earlier this month, has represented the 34th district since 2006, but his hometown of Montclair was shifted into the neighboring district during last year’s legislative redistricting process. He said that he’s working on establishing connections throughout the new 27th district, all of which he’s represented at some point either as an assemblyman or as county surrogate and freeholder in the 1980s and 1990s.
“I went to all of the reorganization meetings,” Giblin said. “Same thing as far as county occasions like with the Passaic County Board of Commissioners – things like that. So we’re trying to network. And I intend to put several part-time aides on my staff to do outreach.”
Giblin’s Assembly race, where he’s paired with current 27th district Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange), is not expected to host much drama this year. The race for the Senate, however, looks like it will feature an incumbent-on-incumbent showdown between 27th district State Sen./former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and 34th district State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair), Giblin’s longtime running mate.
Codey is the clear favorite for the county organization line, and he’s got a colossal fundraising advantage over Gill. But Gill has said she plans to run for re-election with or without party support; there’s also the wildcard possibility that McKeon could jump into the race and try to oust both incumbents at once.
(Notably, if Codey were to win his primary alongside McKeon and Giblin, that means Democrats would put forward an all-white slate in a district that was redrawn to be majority-minority on the new legislative map.)
Asked about his stance on the Senate primary, Giblin said that he’ll follow the endorsement of the Essex Democratic Committee.
“I’m a person who’s always been party organization-aligned,” said Giblin, himself a former chairman of the Essex Democrats and the state Democratic Party. “Whatever direction the leadership takes in conjunction with the individual municipal chairs, I’ll follow that route.”