LD23 Flashpoint: DiMaio Versus Hadzovic

Issac Hadzovic

In a western Republican district, Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-23) said he is looking into the residency of one of his Democratic opponents, but hasn’t yet issued a formal challenge to Isaac Hadzovic. DiMaio noted that Hadzovic is a resident of Independent Twp., which is not in the 23rd District, but newcomer Hadzovic said he votes in Hackettstown and has served as a volunteer firefighter in the town where DiMaio once served as mayor.

“The qualifications are clear: one has to be 21 and have lived in the district for a year in order to run for the office –  that’s in the constitution,” said the incumbent Republican in the heavily Republican district. “No one’s filed any paperwork. We are looking into it. If someone went to their campaign and said DiMaio lives on the border, I’m sure they’d look into it. We have a waiver to the residency requirement to be a firefighter but I don’t know if that proves residency.”

Hadzovic said he intends to fight any challenge by DiMaio or anyone else to his candidacy.

“I’ve voted in the firehouse, the very building where I trained to protect the lives and property of Hackettstown residents,” said the candidate. “I am proud of my roots in Hackettstown, and to have spent my whole life living in the 23rd District.

“This is a guy who is used to winning easily, but he’s obviously running scared this year if he feels the need to stoop to these kind of tactics,” he added of DiMaio. “The assemblyman thinks he owns that seat, but it belongs to the people of the 23rd. We will fight his attempt to prevent the voters from having a fair choice, and after we beat this, we’ll be that much more determined to unseat him in November.”

DiMaio parried the attack of the younger man.

“He’s right, the seat does belong to the people of the 23rd District,” the assemblyman said, and laughed off the charge that he’s shaking in his boots. “I’m not running scared These are liberals with liberal polices and if people in the district want that, we’ll see, but we do have the right to make sure the people are represented by their peers who live in their district and we are in the process of reviewing it.”

Hadzovic said DiMaio wants him out because he and his Democratic running mates, Laura Shaw and Christine Chen, have raised $80,000. But the assemblyman said, “This race will not boil down to money. This will boil down to issues, and they’re liberals.”

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