State Sen. Joseph Coniglio, who is the target of a federal corruption investigation, has agreed to drop his bid for re-election in the 38th district. Coniglio had resisted intense internal pressure from Bergen Democratic leaders to drop out of the race, but has now told Democratic officials that he would end his bid for a third term.
But Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero is strongly denying that Coniglio is dropping out, saying the report is "absolutely not true."
"Senator Joe Coniglio and Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero vociferously deny the report that Senator Coniglio has dropped out of his District38 race," said Brian Hague, Coniglio's campaign manager. (Editor's note: PoliticsNJ.com continues to stand by our report of Coniglio's plan to withdraw.)
Ferriero, Senate President Richard Codey, and State Sen. Paul Sarlo have a meeting scheduled with Coniglio tonight.
Sources say that a date for Coniglio's formal withdrawal has not been set, and that Democrats have not yet decided on a replacement candidate to challenge Robert Colletti, the former Elmwood Park Councilman who is the GOP Senate candidate. But PoliticsNJ.com is told that Assemblyman Robert Gordon and Assemblywoman Joan Voss, who received subpoenas as part of the federal probe of state budget Christmas Tree items but have not been implicated in the Coniglio investigation, will not be considered for the Senate seat.
Paramus Mayor James Tedesco could emerge as the front runner to replace Coniglio, Democrats say.