Cardinale’s next campaign may be his last

Several Bergen County Republican leaders report that Gerald Cardinale has them that he wants just one more term in the State Senate. The 72-year-old Cardinale plans to seek re-election in 2007 and then retire four years later. Cardinale was elected to the Assembly in 1979 and won a Senate seat in 1981 when he defeated Democratic incumbent Frank Herbert. He lost primaries for Governor in 1989 and Congress in 2002. Cardinale’s district may be the site of a hotly contested primary for State Assembly next year, where some Bergen Republicans have threatened challengers to longtime incumbents John Rooney (elected in 1983) and Charlotte Vandervalk (elected in 1991). If Cardinale does intend to make his next campaign his last, the ’07 Assembly primary could determine who the next State Senator will be. And if State Senator Henry McNamara, also 72, retires before 2011 — and if his seat is filled by Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole of Essex County — then Cardinale’s seat could be the only one held by a Bergen County Republican in the next decade. Footnote: Ten years ago, Bergen County Republicans held four State Senate seats: John Scott in the 36th, Louis Kosco in the 38th, Cardinale and McNamara.

Cardinale’s next campaign may be his last