A freshman 32 years later

Thomas Giblin, a shoo-in to win election to the New Jersey State Assembly today — he has no Republican opponent in the 34th district — will go to Trenton on his second try — 32 years after his first Assembly bid. In 1973, Giblin ran in the old 25th district, which extended from Millburn through West Essex into Wayne in Passaic County and Lincoln Park and Pequannock in Morris County. That was the year of the Watergate landslide that left only fourteen Republicans in the Assembly, and Giblin nearly won this solidly Republican district. His opponents were Thomas Kean, then the Assembly Speaker, and Jane Burgio, later Kean’s Secretary of State, who had replaced incumbent Phil Kaltenbacher (who would be Kean’s first GOP State Chairman in 1981). Kean was the top vote-getter with 32,708 votes; Burgio beat Giblin by 1,079 — 27,869 to 26,790. Giblin finished second in Wayne and received the most number of votes in the Morris County portion of the district. Giblin, whose father, John Giblin, served as an Essex County Freeholder, and from 1966 to 1968 as a State Senator, had already joined the family business as a labor leader. He was elected Freeholder in 1977, returned to the Freeholder Board in 1980’s, became Essex County Surrogate, and then Essex County Democratic Chairman. He was the Democratic State Chairman from 1997 to 2001 and lost primaries for County Executive in 1990 and 2002.

A freshman 32 years later