Malone says his departure had nothing to do with redistricting

Posted: June 15, 2011

Joseph Malone has served in public office since he was elected mayor of Bordentown at age 23, nearly four decades ago.

"I just need some time to be Joe Malone, regular citizen," said Malone, now a veteran New Jersey Assemblyman.

He announced Tuesday that he would retire from the Legislature several months after redrawn legislative boundaries shifted the Republican out of the GOP-friendly 30th District spanning northern Burlington and parts of Ocean, Mercer, and Monmouth Counties.

To keep his seat, Malone would have had to compete in the Democratic-leaning Seventh District, which runs through Burlington County's river towns and recently saw the addition of Moorestown and Mount Laurel.

Malone insisted several times that his decision did not take that into account.

"It's nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with being in the Seventh or the 30th or anywhere else," he said. "There was about a 99 percent chance that I wouldn't have run" even if district boundaries were unchanged.

Malone, 61, said he wanted to spend more time with his family but left open the possibility of a future run for office.

"Don't be surprised if in the relatively near future I may want to run for something else," he said, suggesting a municipal or county-level position. "I'm not going to evaporate."

Malone has served in the Assembly since 1993 and is deputy minority leader in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. He stepped down as Republican budget officer in January after serving in that role since 2004.

On Tuesday, he said Republican Gov. Christie's year-and-a-half in office have "been an exercise in reality" after wasted opportunities by previous Democratic governors.

A retired teacher and school administrator, Malone has also supported Christie's calls for public educators to make concessions in tough economic times.

But he said the most valuable part of his time in office was helping constituents.

"It's bittersweet for me because the guy has meant so much to the county and the party for so long, but I know he's bound to continue doing things and be involved in public policy and continue in public service in other ways," said Burlington County GOP Chairman Bill Layton.

He said Malone's departure would not affect favorable chances for Republicans to compete in the Seventh District, where the two Assembly seats are held by Democrats.

Possible replacements are Mount Laurel Mayor Jim Keenan, Cinnaminson Mayor Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Riverside Committeeman Robert Prisco, former Burlington County freeholder Aubrey Fenton, and former Bordentown Township Mayor Mark Roselli.

The Burlington County GOP would aim to select a new candidate in the next two weeks, Layton said.


Contact staff writer Maya Rao at 609-989-8990 or mrao@phillynews.com.

 

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