NJ-11 UPDATES: Pennacchio drops out, Webber drops endorsements

There were two major developments in today’s NJ-11 primary race, Save Jerseyans.

Joe Pennacchio (left) and Tom Kean Jr. (right)

(1) State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) passed on entering the contest.

(2) His district mate, Jay Webber (R-26), dropped a large list of district endorsers forty-eight hours after his soft launch:

Sussex County Surrogate Gary Chiusano
Former Assemblyman Guy Gregg
Former Assemblyman & Morris County Chair Dick Kamin
Former Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande
Former Sussex County Chair Ailish Hambel
Former Passaic County Freeholder Richard DuHaime
Former Morris County Freeholder Hank Lyon
Butler Mayor Robert Alviene
Butler Councilman Alexander Calvi
Butler Councilman Robert Fox
Butler Councilman & Republican Chair Douglas Travers
Byram Deputy Mayor David Gray
Chatham Borough Councilman Peter Hoffman
Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor
Former Florham Park Mayor Frank Tinari
Hanover Mayor Ronald Francioli
Hanover Deputy Mayor John Ferramosca
Hanover Committeeman Brian Cahill
Hanover Committeeman Michael Mihalko
Kinnelon Mayor Robert Collins
Kinnelon Councilman William Neely
Kinnelon Councilman Vincent Russo
Lincoln Park Mayor David Runfeldt
Lincoln Park Council President Louis Pepe
Lincoln Park Councilwoman & Republican Chair Ann Thompson
Lincoln Park Councilman James Wild
Former Lincoln Park Mayor David Baker
Montville Mayor Richard Conklin
Montville Committeewoman June Witty
Former Montville Mayor Donald Kostka
Former Montville Committeeman Richard Moore
Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler
Morris Plains Council President Sue McCluskey
Morris Plains Councilman Arthur Bruhn
Morris Plains Councilman Joseph Cecala
Morris Plains Councilman Sal Cortese
Morris Plains Councilwoman Laurie Fu
Morris Plains Republican Chair Alice Collopy
Morris Plains Republican Club President Lisa Cortese
Former Morris Plains Councilman Stephen Welsh
Parsippany Republican Chair Nicole Green
Pompton Lakes Mayor Michael Serra
Pompton Lakes Councilman Ek Venin
Former Pompton Lakes Councilman Michael Simone
Verona Deputy Mayor Michael Nochimson
Former Morris County Young Republican Chair Will Felegi

Pennacchio’s preemptive departure was likely catalyzed, at least in part, by political realities including the fact that Webber and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-25) have gobbled up most of the available party support in Morris County, the district’s most populous prize (50-60% of the June electorate) and Pennacchio’s share home base, e.g., Webber rolled out key support from Montville in Monday’s announcement, the town where Pennacchio has lived for 30 years and represented in various capacities for almost as long.  

Webber’s supporters also insist that their candidate is the only candidate currently in contention with both grassroots Republican/conservative backing AND mainline “establishment” backing. It’s a contrast they intend to press against Team Bucco.

Wild cards: we’re still waiting to see if (1) Passaic’s state Senator Kristin Corrado wades into the race or (2) Jerry Langer, the Morris-based transportation mogul, decides to spend big money on a bid of his own.

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