Tony Fiore, a Monmouth GOP Vice Chairman and a Middletown Township Committeeman announced his endorsement of Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon to replace Senator Joe Kyrillos in the State Senate next year.
“As a Republican elected official in the largest municipality in the 13th legislative district, the upcoming retirement of Middletown’s Senator Joe Kyrillos is vitally important to us,” Fiore said. “For the past 28 years we have been extremely fortunate to have Senator Kyrillos representing our district as an advocate for residents and taxpayers of our district and the entire state. His leadership and advocacy on behalf of our township and our district will be sorely missed. The next Senator from the 13th must continue to fight for us in Trenton while working with our local leaders to help keep our local municipalities and county under fiscally conservative Republican control.
“My mother taught me the value of respect – both given and earned. It is with an understanding of that value that I’m deeply grateful to have earned the respect and endorsement of Middletown Committeeman Tony Fiore, one of the most respected leaders in the Monmouth County Republican Party,” O’Scanlon said upon learning of Fiore’s endorsement.
“As Tony said, Joe Kyrillos is already recognized as a great leader of this district and our state. I realize it will be extraordinarily difficult to fill his shoes. But I look forward to making Tony, and all the residents of the district, proud as they watch me try! Thanks Tony!”
O’Scanlon is battling his district mate, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, for the Republican nomination to replace Kyrillos in the legislature’s upper chamber.
Fiore’s endorsement of O’Scanlon, of Little Silver, is significant in that it divides Handlin’s hometown support in Middletown. As the largest town in the northern Monmouth legislative district, Middletown has over 40% of the County Committee votes. O’Scanlon has strong support in the Two Rivers area (Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport and Rumson) and the Bayshore towns of Atlantic Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Union Beach. The County Committees of Hazlet, Highlands, Marlboro, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright are believed to be divided between Handlin and O’Scanlon at this point.
Fiore, an opponent of the gas tax increase, joins Senator Jennifer Beck, the state’s most vocal opponent of the gas tax increase, in endorsing O’Scanlon. Handlin has been attempting to make the race a referendum on the gas tax increase that was part of the Transportation Trust Fund legislation last fall. If Handlin fails to make the gas tax a litmus test in the district, she has a difficult path to victory at the yet to be scheduled GOP nominating convention.
Handlin can’t sell the gas tax litmus test to LD 13 Republicans because she has indicated to both MoreMonmouthMusing and Observer-PolitickerNJ that she wants O’Scanlon to run for reelection for Assembly, as her running mate, should she win the Senate nomination. She wants to run for reelection to the Assembly if O’Scanlon is the Senate nominee.
O’Scanlon says he is all-in for Senate, that he will be a primary candidate and that he will retire from the legislature if he is not the nominee.