Doug Steinhardt, a fixture in New Jersey Republican politics and a staunch conservative, was elected to the State Senate on Saturday in a special election convention to fill a vacant seat in the 23rd district.
Steinhardt was unopposed in his bid to succeed Michael Doherty (R-Oxford), who resigned on November 30 to take office as the new Warren County Surrogate.
He is expected to be sworn in to his Senate seat on December 19.
The 54-year-old former college football player and partner at a politically influential law firm, returns to public office after an eight-year absence. He had served as mayor of Lopatcong for fifteen years, first winning the post at age 31 against a Democratic incumbent. Steinhardt served as New Jersey Republican State Chairman from 2017 to 2020 and has been the Warren County GOP chairman for nearly eighteen years. In 2021, he briefly sought the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey. Steinhardt was the GOP chair of the Congressional Redistricting Commission.
Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset Republican leaders quickly rallied around Steinhardt for the Senate seat after Doherty announced in August that he would run for Surrogate.
Republicans in Warren had initially backed Nancy Brown, a longtime party insider, to run for the post after incumbent Kevin O’Neill died in April, after the filing deadline, with three years remaining in his third term. But Brown dropped out for personal reasons and Doherty decided he wanted the job.
In November, Doherty defeated Democrat Maureen McCabe, a former Lopatcong Councilwoman, by a 60%-34% margin. He took office shortly after resigning from the Senate on November 30.
A West Point graduate and retired U.S. Army artillery officer, Dohertys served as a Warren County freeholder and assemblyman before he unseated an interim incumbent in the 2009 GOP State Senate primary.
Steinhardt is the first former Republican State Chairman to win a State Senate seat since 75-year-old John Dimon (R-Bordentown) did it in 1991. Dimon, a former Burlington GOP chairman, headed the state party from 1970 to 1973.