Former Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian will seek the Republican nomination for State Senate in the 2nd district.
Guardian had been seeking an Assembly seat but entered the Senate race after Christopher Brown (R-Ventnor) announced today that he would not seek re-election to a second term.
“My experience as mayor of Atlantic City and as a business administrator has given me tremendous experience in municipal government and will allow me to be a stronger voice for South Jersey in Trenton,” Guardian said. “We need a stronger voice and representation for our residents and businesses in Legislative District 2 during this tremendously difficult time. I am prepared to be that voice.”
Former Assemblyman Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) is also considering a Senate bid, potentially pitting the former legislator against Guardian at the Atlantic County Republican convention tentatively set for March 20.
Guardian said that Brown and former State Sen. Bill Gormley (R-Margate) encouraged him to run.
In his announcement, Guardian paid tribute to Brown’s career in the legislature over the last ten years.
“Not only has he served as an elected official, but he bravely served in the United States Military and has also served in numerous other positions across South Jersey,” Guardian said. “Senator Brown is a tremendous leader, and he leaves big shoes to fill. I will work extremely hard to live up to the high standard of public service that Senator Brown has set for us.”
The front runner for the Democratic Senate nomination is Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield).
The 67-year-old Guardian defeated incumbent Lorenzo Langford in 2013 to become the city’s first openly gay mayor and the first Republican in almost 25 years.
Frank Gilliam, who was sentenced to prison and house arrest this week for stealing money from a youth basketball league he ran, defeated Guardian by 1,396 votes, 58%-39%.
Prior to running for mayor, Guardian ran the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s Special Improvement District and was a Claridge Casino Hotel executive. He most recently served as Toms River Township business administration.