Senate Republican Leader Oroho will not seek re-election, reaction pours in

Matthew Fazelpoor//January 31, 2023

Senate Republican Leader Oroho will not seek re-election, reaction pours in

Matthew Fazelpoor//January 31, 2023

Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho, R-24th District

A major bombshell rippled through the state’s political world Jan. 30 as Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho, R-24th District, announced he would not seek re-election to the New Jersey Senate this November.

“I recently announced my intention to seek re-election to the New Jersey State Senate, but circumstances have changed and I’ve made a personally difficult decision that I will not be a candidate for re-election,” said Oroho in a statement. “However, I am comfortable that I am making the right decision for my family and me.”

Oroho, in his 16th year in the Legislature and 22nd year in elected office, cited a desire to spend more time with family after a recent battle with an illness. He added that, as a believer in term limits, he had never planned to serve more than 10 years in the Senate.

“As I’ve been reflecting on my life with the recent passing of the new year, our family celebrating the birth of our 10th grandchild, and time praying and contemplating while recovering from a recent illness, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will not be a candidate for re-election this year,” said Oroho. “I have made my decision for number of personal reasons that I will mainly keep private. It was a difficult decision, however, one particular thought that kept gnawing at me was the commitment of completing a four-year term. If I cannot readily commit to completing the whole term, it’s not fair to the voters and inappropriate for me to run.”

“It’s time for me to be a more attentive Pop Pop,” Oroho added.

‘How our politics should be’

Reaction and well-wishes flooded in from state leaders on both sides of the aisle, lauding Oroho’s service to the state and his ability to work in a bipartisan manner on major issues.

Gov. Phil Murphy said that Oroho has always sought to do what was right for the people he served by being willing to talk and keep an open mind.

Gov. Phil Murphy delivers the 2023 State of the State Address at the Assembly Chambers in Trenton on Jan. 10, 2023.
“Steve Oroho exemplifies how our politics should be – holding true to one’s positions but never letting the political get in the way of the need to connect personally with those with whom we may disagree,” said Gov. Phil Murphy, shown during his Jan. 10 State of the State address. – EDWIN J. TORRES/NJ GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

“Steve Oroho exemplifies how our politics should be – holding true to one’s positions but never letting the political get in the way of the need to connect personally with those with whom we may disagree,” said Murphy in a statement. “With his retirement at the end of the current legislative session, the Senate will lose a gentleman. I look forward to working with him across the coming year as he prepares to leave the State House.”

“While I am deeply saddened that Steve has decided not to seek re-election, I’m happy the decision is based on good fortune in the rest of his life, a desire to spend more time with family, and on his successful business,” said Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-13th District. “I’m lucky to have served with one of the smartest, most classy, and dedicated public servants I’ve ever known. New Jersey is a much better place for having had Steve at the policy table.”

“I am saddened by Sen. Oroho’s decision to not run again, but I understand his desire to focus on his family and grandchildren,” said Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-25th District. “He is a great leader for our caucus and party, and a great friend to me personally. I wish him the best.”

‘The spirit of bipartisanship’

Senate President Nick Scutari, D-22, described the news as a real loss for the New Jersey Senate.

“Sen. Steve Oroho is an honorable man who provides strong leadership for the Republican Minority and effective representation to the people of the 24 District,” said Scutari. “While we often take different positions on the issues, Steve has always been straight talker and a man of his word. We worked together to find common ground when possible, and respectively disagreed when it was not. He made important contributions to the lawmaking process that benefit the State of New Jersey.”

“I will miss Steve Oroho and his work on bi-partisan issues to improve the quality of life in New Jersey. We worked closely together on the Senate Budget Committee for years when he served as the Ranking Member of the Minority Party,” said Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-36th District. “We did not always agree on every policy issue, but we worked in a collaborative and respectful way on significant solutions to many of New Jersey’s most formidable challenges, including property tax relief, economic development, making full pension payments, renewing the Transportation Trust Fund with more funds going directly to counties and municipalities for local projects, the elimination of the estate tax and other actions to promote fiscal responsibility and economic opportunity.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District, described Oroho as a true statesman.

“While we may not always agree, as Senate Minority Leader, he always comes to the table in the spirit of bipartisanship,” said Coughlin. “I’m happy to call him a friend and have respected his approach in the interest of New Jersey. I respect and recognize the weight of his decision not to seek re-election. His intellect on fiscal matters and refreshing desire to work across the aisle will be solely missed.”

New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz said that throughout his legislative career, Oroho has been an effective and strong advocate for Garden State businesses and the economy.

“NJBIA appreciates the partnership we have had with Sen. Oroho on so many important issues involving New Jersey businesses small and large, and the taxpayer community,” said Emigholz. “We will truly miss his leadership in this space, as well as his collegial good nature that made sometimes difficult conversations with him so easy. We hope all with Sena. Oroho and we wish he and his family the best in the future.”

“We look forward to working with him to improve the outlook for New Jersey businesses and taxpayers in his final year with the Legislature,” Emigholz added.

“I am very proud of my service in the State Legislature, and what I have worked to accomplish. Although admittedly frustrated at being in the minority, I felt I was still able to work collaboratively to affect positive outcomes for my constituents and state residents alike,” said Oroho. “There are many issues I wish I could have pushed further along, but I’ll leave knowing I was persistent and always tried my best.”

Oroho said he will work incessantly this year to try and help the Republicans capture a majority in the Legislature.

“If we are ultimately successful, that will be an accomplishment for me to cherish. If we come up short, then it will naturally be time for someone else to take up the task,” said Oroho. “I look forward to working as hard as I usually do for the remainder of my term.”