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State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest)

Cardinale likely to run again in 2021

84-year-old senator not ready to retire

By Nikita Biryukov, April 12 2018 4:29 pm

One of New Jersey’s longest-serving state senator said he will likely run again when he comes up for reelection in 2021.

“There are a lot of people who will want to get rid of me, and it amuses me a little bit to frustrate some of them,” said State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest). “But yes, I am open to the idea of running again.”

The 84-year-old Cardinale, who has served in the Senate since 1982, said he would run again when his term expired if health issues did not prevent him from doing so.

In 1991, Cardinale was hospitalized for several weeks for heart issues.

Twenty years ago, I had a couple of serious illnesses,” Cardinale said. “They’re gone, so if I feel healthy, why not?”

For most of his recent terms, Cardinale has had an easy road to reelection, often winning by close to 30 points. But, his last reelection was considerably closer. In 2017, former Oakland mayor Linda Schwager came closer to unseating Cardinale than anyone has since 1983, when Cardinale first ran for reelection against Frank X. Herbert, the incumbent he unseated in 1981.

Though her campaign was likely buoyed by heavy spending by then-Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who was financing a challenge to the district’s two Assembly incumbents, she lost by slightly more than 4,000 votes. The election could foreshadow a hard fight for Cardinale in 2021, or it could be a momentary boost that evaporates come 2021.

Either way, Cardinale will likely be prepared.

“I feel great,” he said.

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