In an unexpected announcement, Hunterdon County freeholder director Suzanne Lagay says she will not seek re-election to a third term this year.
That means Republicans will need to recruit a new candidate to run in the June primary.
Possible candidates include: West Amwell mayor Zach Rich, Bethlehem mayor Paul Muir, former Alexandria mayor Gabe Plumer, and Raritan Township mayor Karen Gilbert.
Lagay, a former president and CEO of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, was first elected freeholder in 2013.
Hunterdon has long been one of the few unbreakable Republican bastions in New Jersey. Democrats have not won a county race since Benjamin Kirkland won his third term in 1979.
Republicans have a 5-0 majority and Lagay is one of two women on the board.
“My goals were informed by many decades of work in the private sector particularly in the area of organizational development, including nine years as the CEO of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce,” Lagay said. “We have proven that with careful analysis, investing in the future is profoundly conservative.”
“Suzanne has been a dynamic Leader on the Freeholder Board and for the Hunterdon County Republican Party. Her organizational expertise has set the stage for continued success in County Government and future Freeholder Boards,” said Hunterdon GOP chairman Patrick Torpey. “I look forward to Suzanne’s continued contributions to maintaining and improving the quality of life in Hunterdon County and thank her for her vision in making the long-term economic viability of the County a priority.”
This story was updated at 3:33 PM to include comment from Lagay and Hunterdon County GOP chairman Patrick Torpey.