An 87-year-old New Jersey state senator who ditched the Republican Party now says he won’t seek re-election this year.
Two weeks after saying he would become a Democrat because GOP leaders “abandoned” him while he pursued another term, state Sen. Samuel Thompson told the New Jersey Globe he wants to turn his attention to home.
“I have decided I’m not going to run for re-election,” Thompson said. “My priority should be my wife. She’s 91, and she’s had two falls in the last year and has trouble getting around. We are celebrating our 66th anniversary on Thursday. I owe her my full attention.”
Thompson made headlines earlier this month when he rebelled against the Republican Party after Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry, 63, announced he would compete against him in the June GOP primary for New Jersey’s 12th legislative district.
The four-term state senator claimed ageism was to blame as GOP leaders signaled they were interested in a fresh face.
Some Democrats welcomed Thompson into their ranks, including Governor Phil Murphy, and Thompson claimed they had even “pledged to support my re-election.”
Despite the party swap, Thompson insisted that he would not change his voting habits. “I am not a liberal; I’d put myself as a moderate conservative,” Thompson said, per the New Jersey Globe.
But with a candidate petition filing deadline on March 27, Thompson indicated that he wants to give Democrats the chance to come up with an alternative contender in his heavily Republican district.
“I wanted to make my announcement now so that my party has time to find another candidate,” he said.