Home>Campaigns>Mario De Santis files for LD3 Senate seat, becoming first Democrat to enter race

Legislative candidate Mario DeSantis, a.k.a. "The Good DeSantis." (Photo: Mario DeSantis).

Mario De Santis files for LD3 Senate seat, becoming first Democrat to enter race

South Jersey Dems still figuring out slate, with Sweeney undecided

By Joey Fox, February 15 2023 12:16 pm

Mario De Santis, a Glassboro teacher who has repeatedly challenged the South Jersey Democratic machine from the left, filed his candidacy with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission yesterday to run for the State Senate in the 3rd legislative district.

De Santis is the first Democrat to enter the race for the district, which is currently held by State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan), but he won’t be the last. South Jersey Democrats are still sorting out their party-endorsed slate, with the biggest question mark being whether former Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) tries to reclaim the seat he shockingly lost in 2021.

This will be De Santis’ third campaign in as many years. In 2021, DeSantis tried to unseat Sweeney but was booted off the Democratic primary ballot; the next year, he made it to a primary against Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) and lost 78%-22%.

In a tweet following his loss, De Santis blamed the result on his lack of funding and “a last name that invokes disgust among Democrats” – a problem that is only likely to grow now that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is preparing to launch a presidential campaign.

For now, De Santis has the 3rd district field to himself, but that won’t last long; South Jersey Democrats will have to figure out soon whether they’re going to make a serious play to retake the 3rd district, and if so, who their standard-bearer will be. (It won’t be De Santis.)

Republicans, meanwhile, are dealing with their own primary turmoil. Despite his acclaimed underdog victory against Sweeney in 2021, Durr has not unified South Jersey Republicans behind him, and he faces a serious primary challenge from Salem County Commissioner Mickey Ostrum. The fight has splintered Durr’s victorious 2021 slate, with Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich) likely switching to Ostrum while Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington) sticks with Durr. 

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