Don Guardian, the former Republican mayor of Atlantic City who campaigned in a bow tie and on a bicycle, winning in 2013 then narrowly losing in 2017, stands in the wings with the announcement today by state Senator Chris Brown (R-2) that he will not run for reelection.
Guardian has already announced his interest in an Assembly seat.
With Brown gone, sources say he is poised to make his move for Brown’s perch atop the Atlantic Republicans’ LD2 ticket.
But a second source said not so fast.
Former Assemblyman Vince Polistina and former Sheriff Frank Balles – both past contenders for the senate seat – are also said to be interested in running again for the state senate in LD2.
Balles – a county commissioner – is said to want stick where he is, according to a second source.
That could leave Guardian on a collision course with Polistina.
For their part, Commissioner John Risley and Atlantic City Councilman Jesse O. Kurtz are already making the rounds in pursuit of the assembly seats in battleground LD2, and have incumbent Democrats Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) and Assemblyman John Armato (D-2) in their sights.
A source today speculated that Mazzeo would be the likely Democrat propelled forward to snag the Democrats’ nomination for state senate, but also acknowledged that the Democrats were likely awaiting word from Brown about his future. Mazzeo had a shot at the senate seat in 2017 but opted out, instead running for reelection while Commissioner Colin Bell lost his bid to Brown.
Brown served just four years as the state senator representing the 2nd District.
Before him, the late Jim Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor, occupied the seat, serving from 2008 to his death in August of 2017. The Democrats installed Commissioner Colin Bell in the senate seat and Brown defeated him in the November election that year.