Former State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff has decided not to seek the Republican nomination for Mercer County Executive
Eristoff, who had been viewed by many Republicans as the strongest possible challenger for the post, told the New Jersey Globe today that he “has decided not to run.”
The decision by Eristoff, a former New York city councilman who moved to Princeton twelve years ago to become state treasurer, comes as Democrats are preparing for a significant primary fight between five-term incumbent Brian Hughes and Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton).
Republican have not won a countywide election in Mercer since 2000 and Democrats have held the county executive post since 2004. Not getting Eristoff is a blow to Republicans, who lose an experienced candidate with an ability to raise money.
State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), a Hughes supporter, said last month that a divisive primary “could lead to Republican gains.”
Fractured Democratic parties have resulted in coalitions that have elected Republicans in the past. That’s how Republicans Nicholas Amato and James Treffinger were elected Essex County Executive in 1986 and 1994, respectively.
The New Jersey Globe reported Eristoff was exploring a run for county executive nearly three weeks ago.
Eristoff, 59, was elected to the New York City Council in 1993 after Carolyn Maloney was elected to Congress. He served as New York City’s Finance Commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then as Gov. George Pataki’s state Commissioner of Taxation and Finance.