Another North Jersey Republican has decided not run for office after stating to do so just a week earlier.
Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio (R-39) announced on Feb. 2 that she has decided not to seek re-election with running mates Assemblyman Robert Auth and State Sen. Holly Schepisi.
“I’ve made the difficult decision not to seek reelection this year,” DeFuccio confirmed in a statement. “While I have been honored to represent Legislative District 39 in the state Assembly, I have made this decision for personal reasons. I will continue to vigorously serve my constituents through the end of my term and I am confident that my outstanding colleagues Bob Auth and Holly Schepisi will provide leadership in the days and years ahead.”
An Upper Saddle River resident and former councilwoman, DeFuccio will serve only one full term as an Assemblywoman. DeFuccio won a special election convention in March 2021 by just seven votes over Saddle River Councilman John Azzariti when Holly Schepisi moved up to the State Senate to fill a vacancy in the wake of State Sen. Gerald Cardinale’s death.
Auth said he was personally saddened by DeFuccio’s decision to not seek reelection. They ran together as a team in the 2021 primary, defeating Schepisi-backed candidates Azzariti and Saddle River GOP chairman Jon Kurpis.
“As her colleague, I know I’ll miss her intelligence and knowledge she consistently brings to the issues. But as a family man and business owner myself, I understand her desire to focus on her family and law practice,” Auth stated. “Rest assured, she will continue to put in 110% for the remainder of her term. I wish her only the best.”
In the day after her decision was announced, four Republican candidates announced their intention to seek the seat that is a GOP stronghold—Azzariti, Kurpis, former Freeholder Todd Caliguire, and Bergen GOP deputy vice chairman Ken Tyburczy.
Kurpis had filed papers to be a primary candidate before the news of DeFuccio became public. Kurpis noted that he was not running against Auth but as a candidate that would serve a full term as “Assemblywoman DeFuccio intends to take a judicial appointment sometime after the 2023 General Election.”
Not Returning to Trenton
The announcement by DeFuccio’s is the latest current North Jersey lawmaker who will not seek a return to Trenton in the November election.
State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho at the beginning of the week shocked political observes when he announced that we would not seek re-election, just weeks after announcing his intention to do so. Fellow 24th Legislative District colleagues Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths had previously announced that they would not be returning to office. But Space said he would now seek the party’s nomination for State Senate.
Besides the upheaval in the 24th, other North Jersey lawmakers that will not be on the ballot this November include State Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32) and Assembly members Kevin Rooney (R-40), Angelica Jimenez (D-32), and Pedro Mejia (D-32).
Eyes on 27th, 34th
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) is running for the newly redrawn State Senate seat in the 32nd Legislative District. Still to be decided for Dems is the State Senate seat in the 27th and 34th. State Sens. Richard Codey (D-27) and Nia Gill (D-34) have been drawn into the new 27th. The former governor is expected to run while Gill’s decision has not been publicly decided.
As for the 34th, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake is reportedly eyeing a State Senate campaign that would leave an Assembly seat open next to Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, who was redrawn from the 28th.