In the running to succeed Paul Fishman as U.S. Attorney of New Jersey, Doug Steinhardt of Warren County works as a partner in Florio Perruci Steinhardt and Fader, where he serves as general counsel to the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, providing litigation support and advice on operations and personnel matters. For four years he served as the Warren County Adjuster.
Steinhardt’s allies making the case for him argue that he has the courtroom experience and knowledge of government and legislative affairs, labor and employment, and municipal criminal law to be a very credible top cop.
He was a four-year football starter at Gettysburgh.
Politically he has an interesting – and useful – background, too.
For the last 13 years, Steinhardt has served as the chairman of the Warren GOP, where he developed statewide party relationships. In that period of time, Dale Florio of Somerset retired his chairmanship to focus full-time on his professional life. Henry Kuhl retired in Hunterdon. Mike Donohue of Cape May retired his chairmanship and became a judge.
Bob Yudin lost his chairmanship in Bergen, and Glenn Paulsen handed off his organization to Bill Layton in Burlington. Monmouth has changed leadership hands numerous times; so has nearly every other county with the exception of Hudson. Steinhardt was the first, five term Mayor in Lopatcong, serving from January 2000 to December 2014.
The politics may prove critical for Steinhardt, who has good relationships in all camps.
If the diner booth battle for the next U.S. Attorney pits an avowed Governor Chris Christie person (Attorney General Chris Porrino, for example) against someone overtly from another avenue within Trump world (Geoff Berman, who served on the president’s transition team), Steinhardt could possibly emerge as a compromise choice based on the health of his political relationships across a broad spectrum.
While not in Christie’s inner sanctum, the Warren chairman has friendly relations in Christie world. His law partner connection to former Governor Jim Florio could prove handy if Jared Kushner – a close adviser to President Donald J. Trump – has a word in the matter, sources say. Steinhardt also has a good alliance with home county state Senator Mike Doherty (R-23), who was Trump’s state director in New Jersey last year.
But neither Trump nor Christie has a rep as a compromising personality.
One source told InsiderNJ that whatever the collisions of the past year between the New Jersey governor and Trump, now more than ever is the moment when Christie wants to exert his influence. Himself the former U.S. Attorney of New Jersey, Christie wants his expertise valued and followed as the state re-calibrates after the Fishman years. What happens when Trump picks the next U.S. Attorney more than anything else to date will reveal the condition of Christie’s relationship with the president, the source said.