Thursday, March 6, 2008

Estabrook drops U.S. Senate bid

Estabrook drops U.S. Senate bid
By Max Pizarro

Tags: withdrawal, withdraw, U.S. Senate race, Murray Sabrin, Joseph Pennacchio, Joseph Kyrillos, Frank Lautenberg, Estabrook withdraws, Estabrook drop out, drop out, Anne Estabrook

Citing health reasons, Anne Evans Estabrook is dropping her bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. That leaves a two-way contest to challenge four-term Democrat Frank Lautenberg between State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris) and Murray Sabrin, a Ramapo College Professor and the leader of Ron Paul's New Jersey campaign.

Estabrook, 61, was making her first bid for public office after a career as a real estate developer, philanthropist, and Chairman of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. She had won key endorsements by the Burlington, Camden and Monmouth Republican organizations, and based on her endorsements and money, had been viewed as the front runner in the race to challenge Lautenberg. Pennacchio has won county endorsement contests in Hunterdon and Union counties.

Republicans had embraced Estabrook as their standard bearer after she agreed to self-finance her Senate bid. She loaned her campaign nearly $1.7 million,and raised another $150,000. Lautenberg has about $4.3 million cash on hand; Pennacchio and Sabrin have not yet reported their fundraising efforts.

With the April 7 filing deadline fast approaching, it is possible that another Republican could enter the race. State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, 47, mulled a late entrance into the race last month, but decided against a statewide bid. Kyrillos said this morning that he had no plans to reconsider a run against Lautenberg.

"I am surprised to hear Anne’s news but I appreciate the fact she has a health concern she needs to deal with, which a tough and competitive senate race wouldn’t have helped," Kyrillos said.

Another potential self-funder, businessman Joseph Plumeri, could also emerge as a candidate.
The 84-year-old Lautenberg is seeking a fifth term in the Senate, which would make him the longest serving Senator in New Jersey history. He served from 1982 to 2001, and again when he replaced Robert Torricelli as the Democratic nominee in 2002.


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