In selecting state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton) as New Jersey’s top official at the Port Authority, Gov. Christopher Christie put a Republican seat at risk in November.
State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) called that move “courageous.”
“That speaks not only to the confidence Chris has in Bill but also the importance of the Port Authority,” he said. “New York has really taken our lunch over there… Give bill a few weeks over there and we’ll make New Jersey is given its fair share.”
O’Toole, who like Baroni was among the new class of senators who rose from the assembly in 2008 with a promise to revitalize the party, said that Baroni is “the single smartest legislator I’ve come into contact with in the last 20 years.”
Although Republican acknowledge that it will be tough to hold onto the seat in a district heavily populated by state workers – whose unions and benefits have been under attack by Gov. Christopher Christie – O’Toole said that the Republican candidate will “go into Baroni’s basement and find the book on District 14.”
“Nobody knows it better than Bill Baroni. You have to knock on every door,” he said, adding that 2010 “bodes to be a Republican year.”
Whoever the Republicans select next month as Baroni’s interim replacement will serve in the senate until at least January, 2011.