It was supposed to be a menacing Republican spiral into the endzone, but when redistricting jettisoned Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (D-4) into District 3, the GOP had to turn to backup QB Giancarlo D'Orazio, a Washington Twp. councilman who's been on the job three and a half months.
"I love his philosophy," D'Orazio said of DiCiccco. "I looked up to him. I still look up to him. He's at the top of my list. Gov. Christie is number one, then Domenick DiCicco, then me."
An Italian immigrant who worked as a computer programmer and IT manager for 28 years before leaving his job and starting his own gelato business, D'Orazio doesn't act like a big shot and doesn't pretend to be one.
"I'm sorry I didn't call you back earlier," he said. "I'm a substitute teacher at the high school, and they called today."
He's also a drummer.
But the tom toms of Domenick DiCicco steadily pounded for nearly a year in Republican circles down there, resounding statewide, with state Sen. Fred Madden (D-4), a buttoned down ex state trooper, looking more and more like a prime object of more than just a Republican ritual to regain state control.
"it's been crazy," D'Orazio acknowledged of the week following redistricting, which the Democrats won, and which pried DiCicco away from his long-awaited duel with Madden.
D'Orazio submitted his name in the aftermath and soon received a call from Trenton - specifically Rick Rosenberg - telling him to gear up, he'd be the man.
A Christie fan, D'Orazio said making the case for a legislative rein change won't be hard.
"Unfortunately, as a councilman I've learned how frustrating it is to run local government because of the mandates from the state," said the GOP candidate, who filed yesterday to oppose Madden. "This legislature doesn't want to pass the governor's toolkit. I respect Senator Madden, but I believe he's been there for many years and unfortunately, he's not moving fast enough for me."
As for the money factor, it's still undetermined, said D'Orazio.
"I'm concentrating on delivering my message," he said. "As for how they deliver it, I'm going to leave that up to the volunteers, the experts.
"I don't even know who these people are going to be," he admitted.
But D'Orazio, a committed family man and dedicated Republican, said he intends to enjoy the coming months.
"I enjoy everything I do," he said. "I am not financially rich, but I am a rich man. Whether it's as a winemaker, drummer, substitute teacher or business owner, I enjoy it."
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