Senate Majority Conference Leader Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and two Democratic county chairmen have welcomed State Sen. Sam Thompson’s switch to the Democratic Party after more than 25 years as a Republican legislator but didn’t endorse him as their Senate candidate in the 12th district.
“Senator Sam Thompson has represented parts of Monmouth and Ocean counties now for more than 20 years – he has been a visible force at countless local events in both counties,” said Gopal in a joint statement with Democratic county chairmen David Brown of Monmouth and Wyatt Earp of Ocean. “We formally welcome him to the Democratic Party – along with his breadth of institutional knowledge and his love for the constituents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.”
So far, Thompson, 87, is the first Democrat to express interest in seeking the 12th district Senate seat. The district backed President Donald Trump by 12 percentage points in 2020 and Gov. Phil Murphy lost it to Republican Jack Ciattarelli by 27 points in 2021.
Gopal, Brown, and Earp praised Thompson’s service to the state.
“Senator Thompson’s dedication to service extends across decades, going back to his service in the U.S. Armed Forces, demonstrative of what a committed public servant he is,” they said. “We look forward to the Senator’s new chapter and wish him the best as he moves through the nomination process.”