BATTELGROUND LD26: Pennacchio Announces Reelection Bid By Himself

The incumbent unity ticket desired by GOP leaders seemed as elusive as ever on Friday, Save Jerseyans, as veteran State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris & Passaic) announced his reelection bid… solo.

“I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and continuing to work tirelessly for the good people of the 26th Legislative District, as well as all residents of the state,” said Pennacchio in his statement.

Any mention of Pennacchio’s long-time running mates, Assembly members Jay Webber and Betty Lou DeCroce, was absent from the statement. It’s a clear indication that the Pennacchio-Webber-DeCroce ticket is unlikely to survive as a unified front at least up through the June 6th Primary.

His own reelection isn’t much at issue. The former dentist-turned-conservative legislator lined up the backing of every Republican mayor in the district, the independent Mayor of West Milford, as well as every Republican Municipal Chairman in the 26th Legislative District.

Who he’ll be running with in November? That’s anyone’s guess at the moment.

The LD26 Assembly race is currently a four-way fight between Webber, DeCroce, and Morris County Freeholders Hank Lyon and John Cesaro for two Assembly seats. There’s the potential for more entrants, too, in a district dominated by Morris County towns for which there is no “county” line.

There isn’t an announced primary opponent for Pennacchio to date, but sources in Morris tell me that Freeholder Thomas J. Mastrangelo is making calls and testing the waters.