The state senator from New Jersey’s second legislative district, Jim Whelan, officially announced on Wednesday that he will be retiring at the end of his term in 2017 and not pursuing re-election. Whelan’s announcement follows Tuesday reports that the state senator and former Atlantic City mayor’s retirement from politics was imminent.
“I have had a great run in politics but as with everything else in life, there comes a time and for me, that time is now. I will not be a candidate for the New Jersey Senate in 2017,” Whelan, 68, said in a statement.
Whelan’s statement said that the state senator will focus his energy on “critical issues” including dredging and bringing new development to both Atlantic County and Atlantic City.
Because the two assemblymen who represent the district are Republican Chris Brown and Democrat Vince Mazzeo, Whelan’s departure sets the stage for a tense election in the district as the two men likely duke it out for the spot. Neither has officially confirmed candidacy for the position, however, both seem to be in the exploratory stages.
Whelan, a Democrat, was mayor of Atlantic City from 1990 to 2001 and served one term on the New Jersey General Assembly before his election to the state senate in 2008.