Is Ciesla ready to leave?

There is considerable speculation in Ocean County that Andrew Ciesla, a six-term Republican State Senator from Brick, will not seek re-election in 2011 – and some GOP sources say they wouldn’t be surprised if Ciesla stepped down before the expiration of his current term. Apparently Ciesla, who turns 55 next week, is burnt out after nearly seventeen years in the Senate.

If Ciesla retires, look for a bit of competition for the seat between the two tenth district Assemblymen, David Wolfe and James Holzapfel. Wolfe, who also comes from Brick, was elected to the Assembly in 1991, and Holzapfel, a former Ocean County Prosecutor, joined him there in 1994. There are other possible candidates, including longtime Freeholder Joseph Vicari, and Republican National Committeewoman Virginia Haines, a former Assemblywoman and state Lottery Director. None of these candidates are especially young.

Still, in Ocean County, competition is a relative term. Potential Senate candidates have a constituency of one: GOP County Chairman George Gilmore will decide who gets the Senate seat. Is Ciesla ready to leave?