HARDING TWP. – John DiMaio, the Assembly Minority Leader, is feeling pretty confident.
Republicans gained six seats last year in the state Assembly and DiMaio thinks the next go-around in 2023 will be even better.
With Democrats in control of just about everything in the state and nation, the Republicans’ strategy is pretty clear-cut.
“We’re going to keep pounding this president,” DiMaio said at a bourbon-barbecue fundraiser Monday evening for Republican Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (LD-25).
He said Republicans are already recruiting candidates and targeting districts. The 2023 legislative elections will be conducted under revised districts after the 2020 Census, some of which seem more favorable to Republicans.
DiMaio also had kind words for Dunn, the hostess of the event.
He said Dunn “saved” the 25th District seat by winning a special election in 2020. The district has long been Republican, but 2020 was a difficult year for Republicans with Donald Trump on the ballot. In fact, Joe Biden carried Morris County, but Dunn prevailed in LD-25.
Not without drama. Dunn was behind on election night but took the lead in the following days when more of the mail-in ballots were counted.
Now that she’s more familiar with the ins and outs of Trenton, Dunn said she’s more prone to raise questions. She said it was her query that elicited the information that 40 percent of inmates released early by the state because of the pandemic had been previously denied parole.
Asking tough questions can be one of the few things lawmakers in the minority can do.
DiMaio said he thinks that will change, noting that Dems have controlled the Legislature for more than 20 years.
He said he senses that voters may be willing to give Republicans a chance to govern.