Democrats expect Clinton Calabrese, the scion of a legendary Bergen County political family, to be unopposed in a special election convention for State Assembly. County Committee members from the 36th district is set to meet on January 31 to replace Marlene Caride, who has the Murphy administration.
Calabrese, 31, served on the Cliffside Park Board of Education from 2009 to 2010. He is the grandson of Gerald Calabrese, a former NBA player who served as mayor of Cliffside Park for fifty years until his death in 2015 at age 90. He had also served as Bergen County Democratic Chairman and as a Freeholder, and wielded considerable influence in statewide politics for decades.
The likely ascension of Calabrese adds another younger member to the Bergen legislative delegation. In 2013, Democrats picked Joseph Lagana, then a 34-year-old Paramus councilman, to fill an open seat in district 38.
Calabrese works in the real estate business. His father is Gerald Calabrese, Jr., the Democratic Municipal Chairman. His uncle is Thomas Calabrese, who served as a councilman for fifteen years before becoming mayor in 2016. If he wins his Assembly seat, he could provide some competition for Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick’s belief that he’s New Jersey’s funniest assemblyman: Calabrese has some experience in improvisational comedy — and his material might be a little more current.
Caride resigned last week, following Gov. Phil Murphy’s inauguration. She is currently the Acting Commissioner of Banking and Insurance as she awaits State Senate confirmation.