Rev. DeForest “Buster” Soaries, a former New Jersey Secretary of State and congressional candidate, announced today that he will retire from his position as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Franklin.
Soaries, 67, has led his congregation since November 1990.
Gov. Christine Todd Whitman nominated him to serve as Secretary of State in 1998. He served from 1999 until 2002, when Gov. Jim McGreevey took office.
Soaries challenged Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) in New Jersey’s 12th district in 2002. Holt had won re-election by just 651 votes two years earlier, but redistricting added Democratic areas that helped him beat Soaries by 41,868 votes, a 61%-37% margin.
His retirement is expected in November 2020, after the church has completed a search process.