Three Republican county chairs and a group of 25 elected officials and party leaders today endorsed State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) for re-election to a 5th term in the 21st district.
Pennacchio faces a potential Republican primary challenge from Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo.
Endorsements by county chairs Al Barlas in Essex and Peter Murphy in Passaic assure Pennacchio of the organization line in the counties that make up about 22% of GOP primary voters. He also has the backing of Morris GOP Chair Laura Ali, a strong ally in his home county.
Morris Republicans will decide on January 16 whether to change their rules and create an organization line for the first time.
“The challenges to this state are enormous. It is my intention to work diligently with my Republican caucus to change the direction this Governor and Democratic Legislature has taken us,” Pennacchio said. “Because of that effort, I want to put together my campaign team and efforts early on so I can also work on a broader effort of taking back our State Senate and electing a Republican Governor.
The two Assembly incumbents, Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany), have already indicated their intent to seek re-election.
Pennacchio announced today that Republican mayors in Montville, Butler, Fairfield, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, North Caldwell, Rockaway Township and West Milford will serve as the honorary co-chairs of his re-election campaign.
“It is humbling and gratifying to announce the initial list of endorsements all of whom have agreed to endorse my candidacy,” said Pennacchio, the Senate minority whip. “Most gratifying is the support of my hometown and its entire governing committee, as well as Montville’s Republican Committee Chairwoman and Republican Club President. The people who know me and my efforts best were first in line to extend their support.”