Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Long Beach) told the New Jersey Globe today that she’s supporting Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato for the State Senate, taking her own name out of contention for the seat currently held by retiring State Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Lacey).
Earlier this month, Connors announced that he’d be stepping down this year after more than three decades in the legislature. Soon afterwards, Amato announced his own campaign for the seat; his announcement came with an endorsement from Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-Little Egg Harbor), but not from Gove.
Amato is a close ally of Ocean GOP Chairman George Gilmore, who regained the chairmanship last summer in a major upset. This will be Gilmore’s first legislative election season since returning to power, and he may work to put more new Republican faces in Trenton than just Amato.
Despite their endorsements of Amato, it’s possible that Rumpf and Gove will be among those targeted in primaries; former Barnegat Mayor John Novak and Berkeley Councilman James Byrnes have said they plan to challenge the pair of incumbents.
Gove has represented the 9th legislative district, which covers southern Ocean County, since she won a 2009 special convention to replace former Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt. She’s the only woman from Ocean County currently serving in the legislature; in fact, she’s the only female legislator Ocean County has had since former Assemblywoman Virginia Haines (R-Toms River) departed in 1994.