State Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) should be one of this November’s most vulnerable incumbents by the numbers, but he seems poised to save his own skin by exploiting divisions within the GOP coalition.
Save Jersey has learned that former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (who served under Chris Christie for eight years) will headline a “Women’s History Event” hosted by Gopal whose district takes in a large chunk of Monmouth County where, prior to running for statewide office in 2009, Guadagno served as the Republican sheriff:
What’s the backstory?
Well, how much time do you have?
You may’ve missed it, but Guadagno left the Republican Party and became an “unaffiliated” voter in 2021, four years after her own landslide defeat at the hands of Phil Murphy. According to reports at the time, Guadagno’s beef pertained at least in part to the treatment of her friend, former Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13), who had a falling out with the Monmouth GOP organization led by the politically potent Sheriff Shaun Golden. There’s also some related Holmdel interal politics twisted into all of this, but that’s a story for another post.
Guadagno has remained largely out of the political spotlight in recent years opting instead for a career in law and the non-profit sector.
Meanwhile, back in January, Gopal threw an allegedly non-campaign gathering in Asbury Park attended by NJ 101.5 host and likely 2025 gubernatorial candidate Bill Spadea and other notable Republicans including Senator Bob Singer. Gopal also reportedly huddled with George Gilmore (the recently-returned chairman of the Ocean GOP) back in fall 2022; Gilmore is a fierce adversary of Golden.
LD11 split back in 2021 when voters fired Gopal’s Democrat incumbent running mates and elected two Republican challengers. The district got a (very) little bluer in redistricting but remains a top swing district as Trenton Republicans eye their first not-completely-impossible bid for legislative control in two decades.
Monmouth Republicans have endorsed businessman Steve Dnistrian to challenge Gopal this upcoming fall.