Doherty won’t say he’s a U.S. Senate candidate, but declares ‘my policies would be better for America’

TRENTON – On the same week a self-described Tea Party sympathizer filed to run for U.S. Senate, state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) stopped short of proclaiming himself a candidate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who’s up for re-election in 2012.

“I’m running for re-election to the state Senate,” said Doherty at his schools funding press conference this afternoon.

However, he did add, “I think Bob Menendez is very vulnerable. Any good Republican candidate could beat him. My policies could be better for America.”

If he gets in the race, Doherty would not be the only one running from the right. Attorney Ian Linker of Ridgewood on Monday announced his U.S. Senate candidacy on PolitickerNJ.com and acknowledged his candidacy would emphasize conservative principles.

Since running as a renegade in 2009 for the state Senate seat, Doherty has continued to define himself as a conservative, who was unafraid to fight Gov. Chris Christie during the budget process last year.

Sources say he has quietly begun to put in place the fundraising pieces for a 2012 challenge of Menendez.

Other potential candidates include biotech millionaire John Crowley of Princeton, state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21), state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13), and Assembly Conference Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21).  

Doherty won’t say he’s a U.S. Senate candidate, but declares ‘my policies would be better for America’