Somerset County Republican Committee Chairman Tim Howes said the Somerset Screening Committee’s decision to back Middlesex-based Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) for senate indicates a shift in priorities for Somerset.
The county currently enjoys the senatorial courtesy of Senator Kip Bateman (R-16), the district’s retiring Republican legislator.
Last night, Howes’ counterpart issued a statement concerning her screening committee’s backing of Zwicker.
“Andrew has been a great Assemblyman for the 16th district and Somerset County and we’re thrilled to have his progressive vision for New Jersey leading our ticket,” said Somerset Democratic Party Chair Peg Schaffer. She quipped: “It will be icing on the cake to see [a come-backing] Mike Pappas become the first politician to lose two elections to physicists in one career.” Then-incumbent Congressman Pappas got outdueled in 1999 by Zwicker’s political mentor, fellow physicist former U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12).
Howes was unamused.
“If Zwicker is elected to the Senate,” he said, “then Senatorial Courtesy will be vested in six out-of-county senators who will have no checks or balances on the Senatorial Courtesy that they exercise in their part of Somerset County. By taking this direction, New Jersey Democrats have chosen to continue to accumulate political power over getting things done for the benefit of Somerset County. The answer here is to elect a pragmatic problem solver – Mike Pappas – to the state senate.”
For his part, Zwicker in an interview earlier today with InsiderNJ said he is proud of his service in all those counties with portions in the 16th District.