Assemblyman Kevin J. O'Toole says he's running for the 40th district State Senate seat being vacated at the end of the term by veteran Henry McNamara.
O'Toole is running with incumbent Assemblyman David C. Russo, and Wayne Mayor Scott Rumana, the Passaic County GOP chairman.
That's one lawmaker per county on that ticket: O'Toole in Essex, Rumana in Passaic and Russo in Bergen.
After serving in the Assembly for five years, and briefly in the State Senate in 2001 from an Essex-Union district, O'Toole was re-districted into the 40t. The deal was he would defer to the more senior McNamara and go back to the Assembly in his new district – then run for McNamara's senate seat when the latter retired.
McNamara is expected to announce his intention to retire today.
"This came as a surprise," said O'Toole. "It was a thunderbolt out of nowhere."
O'Toole said the team expects a primary challenge.
No big deal, he says.
"We've been primaried before," O'Toole said.