A powerful leader in Lakewood’s Orthodox Jewish community who had explored a bid for State Assembly as a Democrat in a staunchly Republican district has decided not to run,” the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Avi Schnall, the director of the New Jersey office of Agudath Israel of America, had spent the last few weeks looking at the race. His decision not to become a candidate makes the two veteran Republican incumbents, Sean Kean (R-Wall) and Ned Thomson (R-Wall), heavy favorites to win re-election in the 30th district.
Democrats had viewed Schnall as a very real contender to flip a seat in one of the state’s most Republican districts. Members of the Orthodox community reportedly wanted to have influence in the Democratic majority caucus as well as State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood) on the Republican side.
Republicans had been in panic mode since the news broke of his pending candidacy, and sources told the New Jersey Globe that they had placed considerable pressure on the Orthodox community in a bid to keep Schnall, who had been a Republican, out of the race.
During his exploratory period, Schnall had come to learn that winning the seat — even with massive support in Lakewood — would have been a difficult task.
Schnall declined to comment.