State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington Township) will not seek re-election, concluding a 20-year career in the New Jersey State Senate and setting up a competitive race in a legislatively redistricted district.
Madden, 68, a former acting superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, was elected to the Senate for the first time in 2003, defeating a Republican incumbent by 63 votes in the state’s most expensive legislative race to that point.
Several candidates are still under consideration by the Democrats, who have yet to name a replacement for him. Gloucester County Commissioner Nick DeSilvio, a 59-year-old union member, U.S. Navy veteran, and school board member, is backed by county Republican organisations.
The newly-drawn 4th district is a swing district: Republican Jack Ciattarelli won it by five percentage points in his 2021 race against Governor Phil Murphy, while Democrat Joe Biden won it by seven points in the 2020 presidential election.
Madden is chairman of the Senate Labor Committee and has spent years working on legislation to improve the quality of life for middle-class New Jersey families, including a bill he sponsored mandating rapid improvements and increased support for the Unemployment Insurance Quality Service Plan.
In addition, he has prioritised strengthening the state’s commitment to mental health issues. Madden authored a law requiring health insurers to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment.
The retirement of Madden is not unexpected. At the end of last year, he had less than $80,000 in his bank account, having raised less than $7,000 in 2022. He resigned as chairman of the Gloucester County Democratic Party last year and has been contemplating retirement for six years.
Two years ago, Gov. Phil Murphy won the 4th district by two percentage points under the old map, but the towns in the new map gave Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli a five-point victory.
In 2021, Madden defeated Steve Pakradooni, Jr., a Republican, by an unusually slim eight-point margin.
The new map eliminated Democratic strongholds such as Lindenwold and added Waterford, one of the few Republican communities in Camden County.
Under these new lines, Democratic candidates for the Senate in 2021 would receive 50.6% of the vote, compared to 49.4% for Republican candidates, a difference of approximately one thousand votes. This occurred despite the state GOP’s refusal to assist Pakradooni.
In Madden’s 2003 campaign against State Sen. George Geist (R-Gloucester Township), he spent approximately $4.4 million and aired a prime-time World Series ad on a Philadelphia network television station. Geist spent approximately $1,900,000.