Former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today said Republicans have asked her to run for State Assembly in the 13th legislative district.
So far, Guadagno has politely turned down the overtures, citing family issues and her commitment to her job as a partner as at the Connell Foley law firm. “Too many non billable hours,” she said in a text when MMM raised the issue with her last month, “Thank you for thinking of me, but the timing is not good for me or my family.” She also said she would run if she won the lottery.
Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, Guadagno’s would be running mate in LD 13, told MMM that she urged the former Monmouth County Sheriff to join the ticket last October when Assemblywoman Amy Handlin announced that she would not seek another term in 2019.
“It would be wonderful to serve with Kim,” DiMaso said, “Her presence on the campaign trail and in the Assembly would immediately magnify the opposition voices to the Murphy Democrat agenda. Serving in the legislature would give her a record separate from the shadow of Chris Christie and position her well for another run for governor.”
LD 13 Senator Declan O’Scanlon said that he was not behind the emerging draft Guadagno movement, but that he would welcome Kim as partner in the district legislative delegation. “Kim’s candidacy would be a statewide game changer,” O’Scanlon said.
As New Jersey’s first Lt. Governor and the GOP nominee against Governor Murphy in 2017, Guadagno is uniquely positioned to energize the NJ Republican Party in an election year that is expected to generate dismally low voter interest. All Eighty seats in the General Assembly top the ballot this November. Without a statewide or national race on the ballot, voter turnout has been very low in the past. In 2015, the last year the Assembly topped the ballot, only 22.84% of Monmouth County voters cast a ballot, according to MonmouthCountyVotes.com
LD 13 is considered a safe Republican district. A Guadagno candidacy is seen by Republicans urging her to run as a statewide opportunity to energize the Party, enhance candidate recruitment efforts in other districts and to boost fundraising prospects from otherwise uninspired donors.
Guadagno, a Monmouth Beach resident, is probably the only non-Middletown resident who could win the GOP nomination for Assembly. Middletown, by far the largest town in the district has had a resident serving in the legislature for all but two years since 1966 when the legislative districts were created by a State Constitutional Convention. With Handlin’s pending retirement, the “Middletown seat” is expected to go to Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger or Middletown Township Committeeman Kevin Settembino.