Vincent Polistina selected to fill New Jersey state Senate vacancy, unclear when he will take office

On Aug. 4, 2021, the Atlantic County Republican Committee selected Vincent Polistina (R) to fill the vacant District 2 seat in the state Senate, replacing Chris Brown (R). However, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), who traditionally administers the oath of office, had in late June gaveled the chamber out of session until November.

According to WPG Talk Radio, Polistina was sworn in by retired superior court judge Joseph E. Kane on Aug. 23, 2021. However, according to the New Jersey Globe, a Senate Majority Office official said Polistina’s swearing-in “is not official until he’s sworn in at a quorum.” The executive director of the nonpartisan New Jersey Office of Legislative Services (OLS), Peri A. Horowitz, agreed, stating that “Mr. Polistina is not a member of the Legislature at this time. OLS considers Mr. Polistina to be a senator-select, pending receipt of confirmation from the Senate that he has been sworn-in and his election and qualifications have been judged acceptable by the members of the house.”

According to Politico, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. and state Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R) both say the swearing-in session was legitimate.

As of Aug. 31, 2021, Senate President Sweeney has not indicated he will convene the state Senate early for Polistina’s swearing-in.

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