Home>Campaigns>Henry, Clifton, Sauickie officially team up in LD12

Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry. (Photo: Owen Henry).

Henry, Clifton, Sauickie officially team up in LD12

Joint ticket announces endorsements from key Republicans across district

By Joey Fox, February 22 2023 4:27 pm

Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry, Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R-Matawan), and Assemblyman Alex Sauickie (R-Jackson) formally launched their joint ticket today in the 12th legislative district, an announcement that’s been expected since incumbent State Sen. Sam Thompson (D-Old Bridge)’s abrupt party switch last week.

“We go to Trenton not for ourselves but to fight for the people we represent in the 12th legislative district,” the trio said in a statement. “We fight for you and for your families against the relentless tax increases and spending as well as the radical social agenda of the Democrats.”

Included in the announcement were endorsements from a number of key Republicans, including the GOP chairmen from all four of the district’s counties. The slate has already gotten the backing of the Ocean GOP screening committee and are probably locks to get every county organizational line, though Clifton and Sauickie do face one declared primary challenger in Old Bridge Board of Education president Salvatore Giordano.

Henry, who has led Middlesex County’s third-largest town since 2012, launched his bid for the Senate in January, before Thompson had switched parties. Many Republican leaders in the district were concerned about Thompson’s age – he’s currently 87 and would be 92 at the end of another Senate term – and were lining up behind Henry instead.

But Thompson preempted a primary challenge by unexpectedly defecting to the Democratic Party, an unusual move for the conservative, pro-Trump legislator. His party switch probably won’t help him get re-elected, though, given that the 12th district supported Jack Ciattarelli by 27 points two years ago.

Clifton, a former Monmouth County freeholder and Matawan mayor, was first elected to the Assembly in 2011 after legislative redistricting created an open seat in the brand-new 12th district; Sauickie is a much newer addition to the legislature, having won an August 2022 special election convention to replace the late Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Plumsted).

The day after Thompson’s party switch, both Clifton and Sauickie said that they were disappointed in the senator’s decision and that they would back Henry for Senate. Neither were considered likely Senate candidates themselves, thanks to an agreement among the county parties that Old Bridge should retain the district’s Senate seat in order to give Republicans senatorial courtesy over Middlesex County.

Spread the news: