Caputo Going to the Horizon Board

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28).

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, the veteran Essex County Democrat, is going to retire from the legislature.


The Horizon Board.

Caputo last year said he would pursue reelection.

“I have every intention of running, and of seeking and pursuing the support of the Essex County Democratic Committee,” Caputo told InsiderNJ.

At the retirement gala for his long-time slate mate, Senator Ronald L. Rice, Caputo onstage spoke openly about his disappointment in the 28th District team breaking up as a consequence of redistricting.

But Caputo – a Newark native very instrumental in helping to secure the resources for Brick City’s lead abatement program, who has represented 70 percent of the district, and is a former long-serving county commissioner – said he has unfinished business in the legislature.

As it turned turns, out the lawmaker will not return to Trenton next year, pending a sign-off the state senate.

The retirement of Caputo clears a pathway for Bloomfield Mayor Mike Venezia, who last year didn’t rule out a run for the Assembly next year in the 34th Legislative District.

As for that second Assembly seat: “Right now I’m focused on being mayor,” said the local chief executive, who played a significant role in partnering with Irvington in support of Renee Burgess to take the 28th District Senate seat vacated by Ronald L. Rice.

“Once the new year comes, myself and other chairs will figure out who to support [for the second assembly seat,” Venezia told InsiderNJ. “I have not made any decision yet, and right now I am concentrating on the new term.”

Sources say Venezia has the edge for Caputo’s seat.

First elected mayor in 2014, and successful this year in securing reelection to a third term, Venezia had said he doesn’t rule out a bid for the assembly.  “You should never leave anything off the table,” said the mayor, and added of Timberlake and Caputo, “I support both of them.”

That was then, this is now.

Elsewhere in Essex…

In the 27th: Codey. McKeon. Giblin.

In the 28th: Burgess. Tucker. Garnet Hall of Maplewood.

Going Back: Giblin.
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