Kyrillos says Zimmer would be an ‘effective U.S. Senator’

MIDDLETOWN – Turbulence in the Republican Party caused state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) to more than once consider running for

MIDDLETOWN – Turbulence in the Republican Party caused state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) to more than once consider running for U.S. Senate in this current primary cycle.

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He had a number of openings.

Citing health concerns, millionaire Anne Evans Estabrook last month dropped out of the Republican primary, sending the GOP scrambling to find a replacement. The party first recruited millionaire businessman Andy Unanue, while simultaneously trying to recruit millionaire businessman John Crowley.

But even as allies repeatedly floated his name, Kyrillos was coming off his own political heartbreak.

The state campaign chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, he took Romney’s primary loss hard. In the aftermath, Kyrillos mulled a challenge to Estabrook, decided against it, then decided against it again after Estabrook left the race.

"This kind of opportunity may or may not happen again, but if you don’t necessarily want the job you’re not going to be a good candidate," said the senator, married and the father of two young children. "I wasn’t going to do it unless I was going to be a great candidate, and hungry for that job today."

Following the party’s start and stall relationship with three deep-pocketed political neophytes, it now appears former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer is the establishment go-to-guy to run against either U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg or U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews.

Andrews is challenging Lautenberg in the Democratic Primary. Zimmer would first have to get by economist Murray Sabrin and state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris) in the June 3rd primary.

"Dick is a very able guy," Kyrillos said of the prospective candidate. "He was an able state senator, he was an able congressman, and I think he will be a very effective U.S. senator. He’s been through this movie before and he has good fund-raising contacts."

As for the party’s attempts to recruit business people with little or no experience in politics and government, "There are different skill sets, and not all of the skills that are used in the private sector are necessarily transferrable to public service," said Kyrillos.

"…Running for office is a unique pursuit," he added. "If you’ve not done it, it’s very hard to imagine being the person on the ballot. …Some people get their feet wet and then realize, ‘This is a universe that is different from me, foreign from me.’"

It’s not foreign to the veteran Kyrillos, who’s run for congress and served as state party chairman. But, he insists, it’s also just not the right time.

Kyrillos says Zimmer would be an ‘effective U.S. Senator’