Home>Feature>Guess who will be the only assemblyman next year to have served in a GOP Assembly majority?

The Essex County Republican Assembly delegation in 1968, left to right: C. Richard Fiore (R-Newark), Ralph Caputo (R-Newark), Thomas Kean (R-Livingston), Kenneth Wilson (R-West Orange), Herbert Rinaldi (R-Glen Ridge), Philip Kaltenbacher (R-Short Hills) and John Dennis (R-Verona). Photo from the Ace Alagna collection courtesy of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, Seton Hall University Libraries, South Orange.

Guess who will be the only assemblyman next year to have served in a GOP Assembly majority?

Vin Gopal might be the only senator to have been the youngest twice

By David Wildstein, November 08 2019 2:23 pm

When Michael Patrick Carroll and David Wolfe leave office in January, there will be just one remaining legislator who served as part of a Republican majority in the New Jersey State Assembly – and he is now a Democrat.

Ralph Caputo was a Republican Assemblyman from Newark’s North Ward from 1968 to 1972, when the GOP controlled the lower house.

By the time Caputo returned to the Legislature in 2008, he was part of the a Democratic majority in Trenton.

Just two of the 52 members of next year’s Democratic caucus ever served in the minority: Louis Greenwald, elected in 1995, and Herb Conaway, elected in 1997.  The other 96% have spent their entire legislative careers in the majority.

Caputo and former Gov. Richard Codey are the last remaining legislators to have served while William Cahill was governor.  Codey was elected to the Assembly in 1973, at age 26, and took office on January 8, 1974 – one week before Brendan Byrne was inaugurated.

Seven Democratic senators served in the Assembly Minority, and six GOP senators where once in the Assembly Majority.  Republicans Michael Doherty and Chris Brown have never served in the majority, in either house.

Republican Gerald Cardinale served in the Assembly from 1978 to 1982 when Democrats were in the majority; he later served in the majority when Republicans controlled the Senate from 1992 to 2002.

One more thing: the defeat of Bob Andrzejczak will again make Vin Gopal the youngest member of the State Senate, a distinction he held for his first year in office.

Gopal may be the only senator to be the youngest member on two separate occasions.

Editor’s Note: if you can think of a State Senator who was the youngest member of that house twice, please e-mail david@njglobe.com.

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