The battle of the staffers

The race for United States Senate features the second contest between onetime partisan staffers who have made the jump into elective public office. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez began his career working for Union City Mayor William Vincent Musto, and Thomas Kean, Jr. was a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Robert Franks. The 2002 Senate race also started out as a staff vs. staff race: Robert Torricell worked for Governor Brendan Byrne and Vice President Walter Mondale before running for Congress, and Douglas Forrester began his public career working for then-Assembly Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Sr. Byrne, who served as Governor from 1974 to 1982, started his political career as Executive Secretary to Governor Richard Hughes. Both 2001 gubernatorial candidates also started as staffers: former James E. McGreevey worked for the Assembly Democratic Office, and Bret Schundler was an aide to a a Democratic Congressman from Maryland. Other former staffers include: Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen was an aide to Morris County Freeholder Dean Gallo before winning election to county office in 1974; State Senator Joseph Kyrillos, the Republican State Chairman, who served as an aide to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel during the Reagan Administration, and as Field Director for the 1982 congressional campaign of Marie Muhler; State Senator Leonard Lance was an Assistant Counsel to Governor Tom Kean; State Senator Robert Littell was a legislative aide to Assemblyman Douglas Rutherford in the 1960’s; State Senator Nia Gill was a legislative aide to State Senator Wynona Lipman; Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts served on the staff of Congressman Jim Florio; Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez served as an aide to Camden Mayor Arnold Webster; Assemblyman Reed Gusciora worked on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant to Members of Congress from Florida and Oklahoma; as a college student, Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole was an Intern on the staff of Congressman Joseph Minish and later served as an aide to Assemblyman John Kelly; Assemblyman David Mayer worked for Congressman Rob Andrews; Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll was an Intern for the New Jersey Republican State Committee; Assemblyman Richard Merkt was a longtime aide to Assemblyman Arthur Albohn; Assemblyman Craig Stanley served on the Assembly Democratic staff; Congressman Rob Andrews worked for Joe Roberts when Roberts was a Camden County Freeholder; and State Senator Loretta Weinberg worked for Assemblyman Bennett Mazur and Congressman Henry Helstoski. Another player in New Jersey politics who started out as a legislative staffer is George Norcross, the South Jersey Democratic leader. In the late 1970’s, Norcross ran the legislative office of Assemblyman Ernest Schuck, a Camden County Democrat.

The battle of the staffers