In the highly unlikely event that onetime Polish dissident Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz wins election to the State Assembly this fall, he would become the first former U.S. Senate candidate to become an Assemblyman since Cyril Yannarelli won a May 1990 Special Election Convention.
Siemaszkiewicz, a librarian at the New York Public Library, sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2002, but withdrew before fiing day. Yannarelli, a former Passaic County Freeholder and Paterson City Councilman, sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 1982, finishing seventh in a field of nine candidates.
The '82 primary was won by businessman Frank Lautenberg, who went on to defeat Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick for the U.S. Senate seat of Harrison Williams, who left the Senate earlier that year (after more than 23 in office) following his conviction in the ABSCAM scandal. Lautenberg won the primary by about 11,000 votes over former Congressman Andrew Maguire. The other candidates in the race: former Congressman (and Assembly Speaker) Joseph LeFante; Princeton Mayor Barbara Boggs Sigmund; Carter administration official Howard Rosen (the father-in-law of former state Human Services Commissioner Timothy Carden); former state Banking Commissioner Angelo Bianchi; New Jersey AFL-CIO Vice President Frank Forst; and Richard McAleer, a car salesman from Ocean Grove.
Yannarelli went to the Assembly in 1990 when John Girgenti moved up to the Senate following the death of Frank Graves. (Graves' other job, Mayor of Paterson, went to Assemblyman Bill Pascrell.) But Yannarelli's time in Trenton was very brief. Already battling voter discontent with Governor Jim Florio's tax increases (which he voted against), Yannarelli's campaign was damaged even more in late September when he was indicted on 52 counts of voter fraud. He was accused of forging as many as 5,000 voter registration forms in Passaic County before the 1989 general election. He lost the November Special Election to Republican Frank Catania by a wide margin in a heavily-Democratic district.