Warren County Republican chairman Doug Steinhardt (R-Lopatcong) was officially sworn in as a New Jersey state senator this afternoon, succeeding former State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Oxford), who was elected as Warren County Surrogate last month.
“Senators, thank all of you for welcoming me to your honored chambers,” Steinhardt said after being sworn in. “I look forward to facing the challenges ahead with you with dignity, civility, and a burning desire to make New Jersey a safe and perfect place to call home.”
A former Lopatcong mayor and state Republican Party chairman, Steinhardt emerged as the frontrunner for the 23rd legislative district’s Senate seat as soon as Doherty announced he would make the switch to county office. Steinhardt was elected, unanimously and by acclamation, at a special election convention on December 10.
Steinhardt will have to win a full four-year term in the 2023 legislative elections, but that should be easy assuming he gets through the Republican primary; there hasn’t been much chatter yet of a primary challenge, though that could change.
The 23rd legislative district, covering nearly all of Warren County and parts of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, is strongly Republican, voting for Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli by more than 20 points last year.
Like Doherty, Steinhardt is regarded as a staunch conservative. During his brief bid for governor in late 2020 and early 2021, he highlighted his support for former President Donald Trump, though Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol attack made him reassess his campaign.
Steinhardt is the third new member to join the legislature since the start of this legislative session; the other two, Assemblyman Alex Sauickie (R-Jackson) and State Sen. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington), were both sworn in earlier this fall.