Will a Roman Chariot Race Ultimately Decide Who Succeeds Kean?


Every historically grounded senator privately dreams of wearing a toga in a nod to the governing body’s roots in Ancient Rome.

But as it turns out not all of them actually crave a place in a triumvirate.

In the waning days of that Republic, the first Roman Triumvirate consisted of Julius Caesar, Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus.

That was Rome, this is New Jersey, and now apparently state Senator Tom Kean, Jr., who last week

State Senator Robert Singer, a veteran lawmaker from Ocean County, wants to be removed from the select legislative committee formed by Senate President Steve Sweeney to examine the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).
State Senator Robert Singer, (R-30).

formally kicked off his second consecutive CD7 bid for Congress, wants to form a triumvirate out of a combination of Senators Bob Singer, Steve Oroho and Joe Pennacchio.

The purpose?

To lead the Senate Minority Office in Kean’s aftermath, as the senator prepares for the next stage of his political career in attempting to dethrone incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7).

If that is indeed how Kean intends to handle succession, two of his would-be successors in the as-yet officially cohered triumvirate are said to disagree.

Pennacchio doesn’t think a three-man leadership model works in this case.

The veteran Morris County senator believes the senate should supplant Kean now with one clear senate

Senator Oroho

minority leader and not wait until the second Thursday after the November election to fill the position.

For his part, Singer has no problem with Kean’s decision.

The veteran Ocean County senator thinks it’s appropriate to have the three come together to handle the task of helping battleground Republicans get elected this year, and then to have the caucus contest to replace Kean as scheduled, after the election.

As they compete with Oroho for Kean’s seat, their points of view on Kean’s plan for succession place them at odds on Kean’s last intentions for the caucus.

Joe Pennacchio
Senator Pennacchio

Pennacchio doesn’t believe the decision about succession rests with Kean but with the caucus as a whole.

Singer contends that a fight for Kean’s leadership seat now would distract the leaders from the coming general election at a time when the GOP senate caucus wants to reverse its 15-25-senator deficit. Singer’s attitude seems to be along the lines of “let’s get Republicans elected first then worry about the second Thursday after the election.”

Pennacchio – a former co-state director of the Donald Trump Reelection Campaign – says the GOP can improve its chances to win battleground seats if it has a go-to person. It’s not just a fundraising role, but a leadership role. Rightly or wrongly, he is said to fear the perception of the three senators doing the job as a committee.

It’s a little caucus conflict, which at the very least gives the senators a chance to entertain not only the ongoing tradition of writing laws a la ancient Rome, but of conceivably also being part of a triumvirate, a la Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.

At this rate, Singer, Oroho and Pennacchio might decide to succeed Kean by staging a chariot race around the Statehouse.



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