Sunday, February 10, 2008

Old Story on PolitickerNJ: Mitt Romney's NJ State Chairman for the US Senate

Jersey Joe Kyrilllos?
By Wally Edge

Tags: U.S. Senate, Tom Moran, Murray Sabrin, kyrillos for senate, Joseph Pennacchio, Joseph Kyrillos, Joe Kyrillos, Frank Lautenberg, Anne Estabrook

Sources close to Joseph Kyrillos say the six-term State Senator and former GOP State Chairman is seriously considering a late entrance into the race for the Republican U.S. Senate
nomination. Kyrillos has some free time on his hands now that Mitt Romney has dropped out of the presidential race, and some of his friends suggest that Kyrillos gets that Republicans aren’t terribly excited about the other three candidates – businesswoman Anne Evans Estabrook, State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, and Ramapo College Professor Murray Sabrin.

New Jersey Republicans have not won a U.S. Senate seat since 1972, but some party insiders still hold out hope that there could be an opportunity against Frank Lautenberg, who at age 84 is seeking his fifth six-year term. Lautenberg, as Tom Moran once explained, is just one broken hip away from his age being a real factor in the race.

Some Republican leaders view Kyrillos as a much stronger candidate than Estabrook, who has never run for office before and has been unspecific as to how much of her personal fortune she’s really prepared to spend in the general election. Kyrillos made some conservative friends by backing Romney early and aggressively, and he would be the only candidate in the race who had ever unseated a Democratic incumbent in a general election. And at age 47, with young children, he might offer a good contrast to Lautenberg.

One potential problem for Kyrillos: some of his teammates are already in other camps. Longtime consultant Larry Weitzner is working for Estabrook, as are fundraiser Lewis Eisenberg and Mark Duffy, who is Estabrook’s campaign manager. And Chris Pordom, his former aide, now works for Pennacchio.

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