Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington), who could soon be a candidate for the State Senate should State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington) choose to retire, said today that he remains firmly behind Madden and would not elaborate on his own plans.
“As far as I know, Fred Madden’s running for re-election,” Moriarty said. “He’s a great senator, he’s really good at what he does, and he represents the people of our district well. I’ve been honored to serve with him for the last 18 years, and I hope he’s going nowhere.”
Madden, until recently the chairman of Gloucester County Democratic Party, is an old standby in South Jersey politics, serving in the Senate since 2004. Nearly that entire time, he’s been joined by Moriarty, who was elected to the Assembly in 2005.
But the very moderate Madden has been the subject of retirement rumors for years, and 2023 may be the year he finally calls it quits. The 4th legislative district he and Moriarty represent was made significantly more Republican during the redistricting process; Gov. Phil Murphy would have lost the new lines by around five points, prompting a competitive fight that Madden may not want to wage.
If Madden does depart, Democrats don’t have an obvious candidate to replace him.
Moriarty and his running mate, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester), are both flawed options from the perspective of the South Jersey Democratic establishment: Moriarty because of his ambivalent relationship with top South Jersey Democrats, Mosquera because of her residency in Camden County. (The seat is typically viewed as a Gloucester-based district, even though a majority of its residents live in Camden County.)
Gloucester Democrats may look to tap someone other than Moriarty or Mosquera, though that might further jeopardize Democratic control of the highly competitive seat. And Moriarty could run regardless of whether the local Democratic parties support him – but if he’s considering it, he’s not saying so.