State Sen. Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) declined to say what pushed her to back primary opponents challenging incumbent Assembly members running on Bergen County’s Republican organization line.
“Honestly, my statement is all I’m doing,” she told the New Jersey Globe Thursday.
Schepisi this morning endorsed Saddle River Councilman John Azzariti and former Saddle River GOP Municipal Chair John Kurpis against onetime running mate Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan) and Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio (R-Upper Saddle River).
The move is likely to rekindle an intra-party fight that petered out after Schepisi defeated Auth at a March special convention convened to fill the seat of State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest), who died at the age of 86 in February.
Schepisi finished eight votes ahead of Auth. DeFuccio beat Azzariti by seven votes at a later special election convention to fill Schepisi’s seat in the Assembly.
All three incumbents have the party line in Bergen County, which accounts for the vast majority of the district’s votes, while Passaic County Republicans awarded their line to Azzariti, Kurpis and Schepisi, who is unopposed in her bid for the GOP Senate nomination.
The contest for Cardinale’s seat in the upper chamber became a bitter contest, though Schepisi indicated she’d be willing to bury the hatchet if Auth clears the primary.
“I believe in doing what’s best for the party. I have historically done what’s best for the party, and whomever wins this primary, I will support in the best interests of the party,” she said. “If it’s Assemblyman Auth, I will do as I have done for the past seven years, and I will support him as I always have.”