NJGOP Senate leader retiring, Space jumps back in to take his place

New Jersey Republicans arguably have their best chance in a generation to flip the N.J. Senate following redistricting, but their Senate leader is calling is quits.

“As I’ve been reflecting on my life with the recent passing of the new year, our family celebrating the birth of our 10th grandchild, and time praying and contemplating while recovering from a recent illness, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will not to be a candidate for re-election this year,” Steven Oroho (R-24) announced on Monday morning. “I have made my decision for a number of personal reasons that I will mainly keep private. It was a difficult decision, however, one particular thought that kept gnawing at me was the commitment of completing a four-year term. If I cannot readily commit to completing the whole term, it’s not fair to the voters and inappropriate for me to run.”

While it had been widely rumored that Oroho’s heart was no longer in the job after 16 years in the legislature, few anticipated he’d hang it up during the 2023 cycle.

Oroho’s surprise announcement also resulted in an equally surprising reveal concerning a likely replacement:

Ex-Oroho running mate Parker Space (who was retiring from the Assembly this cycle) is now jumping back into Election 2023 to seek Oroho’s soon-to-be vacated seat.

“After considering the impact of the combined departure of Steve, Hal and myself, I’m troubled that the district will be left with no continuity of service so I am declaring myself a candidate for the open Senate seat for District 24,” said Space in his own separate statement. “I know the tremendous service that our joint district office provides to the residents of the district and I think it’s very important for that to continue.”

LD24 is rock-solid red, so it’s primary decided the general election.

There is already a spirited primary underway to succeed Space and fellow incumbent Hal Wirths in the Assembly; the field includes Steve Lonegan, sitting Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia, and Chester Township Mayor Mike Inganamort (with whom Fantasia has teamed up to run as a ticket).

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.