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Senate Minority Whip Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Pennacchio not ready to endorse gubernatorial candidate

Minority whip says he’s focused on Senate races

By Nikita Biryukov, January 11 2021 8:41 pm

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio isn’t ready to endorse a gubernatorial candidate, even with former Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt out of the race.

“Right now, my focus is still on the State Senate,” he told the New Jersey Globe Monday night. “I’ve got my own race, but as a whip, I really want to see if we can pick up some Senate seats this year.”

The New Jersey Globe first reported Steinhardt was dropping his gubernatorial bid Monday evening. The Warren County Republican chairman said he was pulling out of the race, citing unforeseen professional obligations.

Unlike some others, Pennacchio, who was an honorary co-chair of President Donald Trump’s New Jersey re-election campaign, wasn’t surprised to see Steinhardt’s departure.

“Nothing shocks me anymore. He got into this race relatively late compared to Jack,” Pennacchio said, referring to former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. “If you factor in that a lot of it was over the holidays, it was sort of a quiet campaign that was just beginning to heat up.”

Steinhardt launched his campaign a month ago, on Dec. 11.

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