Conservative businessman Richard Pezzullo is a possible candidate against Democratic State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) in the 11th district, some Republicans have told the New Jersey Globe.
Pezzullo was not ready to discuss a possible Senate bid next year.
“It’s not out of the realm of possibility,” Pezzullo said.
Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone would not rule out a challenge against Gopal, but doesn’t seem interested in a Senate bid.
“My whole concern is for Monmouth County residents’ safety and economics,” said Arnone, who explained that he loves being a freeholder.
Arnone said that any Republican interested in taking on Gopal will need to go through the GOP county chairman, Sheriff Shaun Golden.
“We have a strong chairman who has shown huge success in Monmouth County,” he said.
Gopal won the Senate seat in 2017 after toppling three-term incumbent Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) by 4,148 votes, 54%-46%.
Democrats narrowly ousted two Republican assemblywomen in 2015, and held the two Assembly seats easily in 2017 and 2019.
Pezzullo challenged Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) in 2018.
The 11th now has 15,903 more Democrats than Republicans. That’s up from 10,120 when the map was drawn in 2011.