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State Sen. Steve Oroho. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Oroho set to become next Senate Minority Leader

Singer, Pennacchio set to drop as GOP shows unity in upper house

By David Wildstein, October 28 2021 10:03 am

State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Franklin) has the votes to become the minority leader of the New Jersey State Senate next year, a New Jersey Globe tally shows.

Oroho’s two opponents, Deputy Minority Leader Bob Singer (R-Lakewood) and Senate Minority Whip Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) are expected to withdraw from the race this week.  Both are expected to remain in a leadership position.

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) is viewed as a leading candidate to replace Oroho as the Senate Republican Budget Officer.  State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) is also headed to leadership, and possibly a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) will remain as the Republican Conference Leader.

The current minority leader, Thomas Kean, Jr., (R-Westfield) is not seeking re-election to the Senate in order to focus on his rematch against Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in New Jersey’s 7th district.

The race for Assembly Minority Leader remains in flux.  Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) faces Brian Bergen (R-Denville) after a deal this month put two other rivals, Ned Thomson (R-Wall) and John DiMaio (R-Hackettstown), on her leadership team.  But a flurry of opposition from conservative activists means another candidate might still emerge.

Both houses will get new minority leaders.  Jon Bramnick is giving up his Assembly seat and is running to replace Kean in the Senate.

Leadership elections are scheduled for next Thursday, two days after Election Day.  That could change if any legislative races are too close to call and might be a determinative factor in the outcome of that race.

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