Former Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian has dropped his bid for the Republican State Senate nomination in the 2nd district, clearing the way for former Assemblyman Vince Polistina to run for the open seat being vacated by retiring Republican Chris Brown.
Guardian will return to being a candidate for the State Assembly, a post he had been seeking prior to Brown’s announcement last week that he would not seek re-election to a second term.
“When I first announced my run for senate, it was because no one else had stepped forward to succeed Senator Chris Brown. But now that we have a very qualified candidate in former assemblyman Vince Polistina, I have agreed to step down for the good of the party, and clear the way for Vince to be our Republican candidate for Senate,” Guardian said. “My experience as former mayor of Atlantic City and as a business administrator would best serve the district in the Assembly.”
WPG radio personality Harry Hurley first said this morning that Guardian’s withdrawal was pending.
Democrats are expected to run Vince Mazzeo, a four-term assemblyman, in their bid to flip a Republican Senate seat.
Guardian said he spoke with Sonny McCullough, a former GOP senator and Egg Harbor Township mayor, and other party leaders over the weekend — a signal that he’s received assurances of support for the Assembly if he exited the Senate race.
“Don is the epitome of a selfless public servant. You don’t find many people like him in politics today,” Polistina said. “He has agreed to put the Republican Party and the constituents of the 2nd legislative district first.”
The Assembly race is now a three-candidate contest for party support between Guardian, Atlantic County Commissioner John Risley, and Atlantic City Councilman Jesse O. Kurtz.
The Atlantic City Republican Club endorsed Risley and Kurtz over the weekend.
Polistina hinted his backing of Guardian.
“I know that Don Guardian is exactly the type of public servant that we need,” he said. “His deep knowledge of Atlantic City and the tourism industry, plus his experience as mayor and business administrator will serve him well as he campaigns for assembly and I’m very excited to work with him.”