Joe Kyrillos

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Joe Kyrillos
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 14, 1992
Preceded by Richard Van Wagner
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 13th district
In office
January 12, 1988 – January 14, 1992
Preceded by Joseph Azzolina
Succeeded by Joseph Azzolina
Personal details
Born Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr.
(1960-04-12) April 12, 1960 (age 55)
Kearny, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Hobart College
Boston University
Website Campaign website

Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr. (born April 12, 1960) is an American Republican Party politician, who has served in the New Jersey State Senate since 1992, where he represents the 13th Legislative District. Before entering the Senate, Kyrillos served in the General Assembly, from 1988 to 1992.[1]

Kyrillos was the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey for the 2012 elections losing to Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Robert Menendez.

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr. was born April 12, 1960, in Kearny, New Jersey, the son of a pediatrician.[2][3] All four of his grandparents were Lebanese immigrants (though his surname is Greek).[4] Kyrillos graduated from Rumson Country Day School and the Lawrenceville School.[5] He received a B.A. degree from Hobart College in Political Science and was awarded an M.S. from Boston University in Communications.[1]

After graduating from college, Kyrillos worked for Vice President George Bush during the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign.[6] Following the campaign, he served as Special Assistant to Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel from 1985 to 1987.[7]

From 1990 to 1998, Kyrillos served as director of business standards and ethics at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey. From 1998, Kyrillos has been employed by GVA Williams Real Estate, where was a senior managing director. In 2008, GVA Williams was purchased by FirstService and merged with Colliers International.[8][9]

New Jersey Assembly (1988-1992)[edit]


Kyrillos was first elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1987, together with his incumbent running mate JoAnn H. Smith, with both candidates receiving more than $25,000 each in campaign funding from the $1.1 million spent by the New Jersey Republican State Committee to support candidates statewide.[10][11] In 1989, he won re-election to a second term.[12] After spending two terms in the Assembly, he retired to run for the seat in the New Jersey Senate in 1991.[13]


Kyrillos strongly opposed Democrat Governor Jim Florio tax increases, citing his opposition to "the Florio tax plan" repeatedly in his campaign advertising.[14] He also opposed the Abbott districts.

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Assembly Education Committee[15]

New Jersey Senate (1992-Present)[edit]


In 1991, Kyrillos decided to run for the 13th District seat in the New Jersey Senate. He defeated incumbent appointed Senator James T. Phillips 68%-32%.[16][17] In 1993, after redistricting, he won re-election to a second term with 64% of the vote.[18] In 1997, he won re-election to a third term with 63% of the vote.[19]

After redistricting, the 13th district became more competitive. In 2001, he won re-election to a fourth term (two-year term) with 64% of the vote.[20] He won re-election to a fifth term in 2003 against former State Assemblyman Bill Flynn 54%-41%.[21] In 2007, he won re-election to a sixth term with 61% of the vote.[22] In 2011, he won re-election to a seventh term, defeating Hazlet Mayor Chris Cullen, 60%-37%.[23]


In 1992, Kyrillos was one of the sponsors of the Constitutional Amendment in the New Jersey Constitution that would remove the legal responsibility that transfers money from more affluent school districts to poorer ones. The amendment was in response to opposition to the 1990 Abbot v. Burke Supreme Court ruling.[24]

In 2008, Kyrillos sponsored the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Act, designed to assist the transition as Fort Monmouth prepares to close under Base Realignment and Closure recommendations.[25]

Kyrillos was a primary co-sponsor of legislation creating the Business Employment Incentive Program, which provides government grants to companies that hire employees in New Jersey.[26] Kyrillos was the primary Senate sponsor of the Environmental Infrastructure Trust, legislation promoting ecotourism in New Jersey, and the Green Acres Bond Act of 1995, and New Jersey's College Savings Plan. Kyrillos helped establish the New Jersey School Report Card and the High School Proficiency Assessment.[citation needed]

Kyrillos has been a sponsor of Governor Chris Christie's "Tool Kit" initiatives as part of an effort to assist local governments in keeping local property tax growth below the 2% annual cap on increases.[13]

Kyrillos hosted a statewide cable television program, Tour of New Jersey.[13]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Senate Natural Resources and Tourism Committee (Chairman)[27]
  • Senate Economic Growth Committee
  • Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Senate Oversight Committee[1]
Other positions

District 13[edit]

Each of the forty districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 13th District for the 2014-2015 Legislative Session are:[28]

Other political activities[edit]

1992 congressional election[edit]

In 1992, Kyrillos ran for the United States House of Representatives but was defeated by incumbent Democrat Frank Pallone in a competitive race, falling short by about 10 points.[29]

2008 Romney presidential campaign[edit]

Kyrillos was the New Jersey Chairman of Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign.[6]

2009 Christie gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In 2009, Kyrillos served as chairman of Chris Christie's successful gubernatorial campaign and was a member of the Governor's Transition Committee, serving as the liaison to all transition sub-committees.[30]


Kyrillos serves on the board of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, National Conference of State Legislatures Foundation, Bayshore Senior Day Center, Count Basie Theatre, Garden State Arts Center Foundation, Monmouth County Historical Association, New Jersey Historical Society, Prevention First, Rainbow Foundation, and the Two River Theatre Company.[7]

2012 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In June 2011, Kyrillos filed an exploratory committee for a potential race in either 2012 or 2014.[31][32]

On January 19, 2012, Kyrillos officially decided to run for the U.S. Senate, citing unemployment, housing prices and the national debt as issues he would tackle in the Senate.[33][34] Kyrillos won the Republican nomination on June 5, 2012. He opposed Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez in the November 6th general election, in which he was defeated 58.4% to 39.9%.

Personal life[edit]

Kyrillos is married to Susan Doctorian Kyrillos and has two children, Max and Georgia. Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat were the match-makers for Joseph and Susan. Christie said of him "Joe has been a good friend of mine for nearly 20 years, as has his wife, and they are wonderful people."[35]

Election history[edit]

New Jersey State Senate elections, 2013[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joe Kyrillos (incumbent) 40,762 68.1
Democratic Joseph Marques 18,289 30.6
The People's Choice Mac Dara F. Lyden 774 1.3
Republican hold
United States Senate election in New Jersey, 2012[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Bob Menendez (incumbent) 1,987,680 58.87% +5.50%
Republican Joseph Kyrillos 1,329,534 39.37% -4.98%
Libertarian Kenneth R. Kaplan 16,803 0.50% -0.15%
Green Ken Wolski 15,801 0.47%
Independent Gwen Diakos 9,359 0.28%
Independent J. David Dranikoff 3,834 0.11%
Independent Inder "Andy" Soni 3,593 0.11%
Independent Robert "Turk" Turkavage 3,532 0.10%
Socialist Greg Pason 2,249 0.07%
Independent Eugene M. LaVergne 2,198 0.07%
Independent Daryl Brooks 2,066 0.06%
Majority 658,146 19.49%
Turnout 3,376,649
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joseph M. Kyrillos (incumbent) 24,121 60.0
Democratic Christopher G. Cullen 14,785 36.7
Constitution Party Stephen J. Boracchia 556 1.4%
Keep Monmouth Green Karen Anne Zaletel 519 1.3%
Jobs-Economy-Honesty Mac Dara F. Lyden 260 0.6%
Republican hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2007[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joseph M. Kyrillos (incumbent) 25,119 60.7
Democratic Leonard L. Inzerillo 16,267 39.3
Republican hold


  1. ^ a b c d Senator Kyrillos' legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed February 21, 2008.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Senator Joseph M. 'Joe' Kyrillos Jr., Project Vote Smart. Accessed September 20, 2007.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Independence Day Honors, Lawrenceville School, July 4, 2005. Accessed September 21, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Press Release - Governor Mitt Romney Announces New Jersey State Leadership". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr.". Joseph Kyrillos profile. State Surge. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ Agovino, Theresa. "Majority stake in GVA Williams sold". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "LinkedIn profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ Staff. "STATE GOP COMMITTEE SPENT $1.1 MILLION ON '87 ELECTION BIDS", The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 20, 1988. Accessed June 25, 2012. "The GOP committee spent heavily in the 13th District, doling out $25478 apiece to Assemblywoman Joann Smith (R., Middlesex), who was re-elected, and Assemblyman Joseph Kyrillos (R., Monmouth), who begins his first term."
  11. ^ "Candidates for the Offices of State Senate and General Assembly" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1987. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Candidates for the Office of General Assembly" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1989. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c "Kyrillos biography". New Jersey State Senate. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ King, Wayne. "G.O.P. Runs Against Florio, Who's Not Running", The New York Times, September 24, 1991. Accessed June 22, 2012. "Nonetheless, 'the Florio factor' is already established political jargon in New Jersey, an integral part of discussions about races like the one in the 13th Legislative District in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. Joseph Kyrillos, the Republican Assemblyman who is trying to take away the Senate seat of Jim Phillips, mentions the Governor and 'the Florio tax plan' no fewer than four times in a 60-second radio commercial, and Mr. Phillips not once."
  15. ^ Staff. "FAST ACTION PROMISED ON SCHOOLS RULING RAISES QUESTIONS OF COST", The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1990. Accessed June 25, 2012. "Assemblyman Joseph Kyrillos (R., Monmouth), a member of the Education Committee, said crafting a response to the court ruling would take time."
  16. ^ King, Wayne (October 24, 1991). "Florio Urges Democrats To Fight Back". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2015. State Senator James T. Phillips, Democrat of Old Bridge, who is filling out an unexpired term and was not in the Legislature when the taxes were approved last year... 
  17. ^ "Official Results - General Election - November 5, 1991" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. 1991. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Official list - General Election Returns for the Office of Senate and Assembly" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. November 24, 1993. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Official Results - General Election Returns for the Office of State Senate" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 2, 1997. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Official List - Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2001 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. April 17, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Official List - Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2003 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 2, 2003. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Official List - Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2007 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 3, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2011 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 14, 2011. Accessed January 9, 2012.
  24. ^ King, Wayne. "Shift in School Fund Plan Gains in Trenton", The New York Times, June 30, 1992. Accessed June 22, 2012. "One sponsor of the amendment, Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr. of Middletown, said the object was to make the Legislature responsible for providing educational opportunity for all children in the state while removing the courts from the school finance issue to the greatest extent possible."
  25. ^ SENATE, No. 1472, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed April 24, 2008.
  26. ^ Hunger, Matt. "Kyrillos looks to the right and left at four challengers fighting long odds for his seat". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  27. ^ McGarry, Michael. "SHORE SUMMIT AT SEA ON WAY TO FUND PLANS", The Press of Atlantic City, February 19, 1992. Accessed June 25, 2012. "'That's the political question we have to answer,' state Sen. Joseph N. Kyrillos Jr., R-Monmouth, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Tourism Committee, said later."
  28. ^ "Legislative Roster 2014-2015 Session". New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  29. ^ King, Wayne. "THE 1992 ELECTIONS: NEW JERSEY -- U.S. HOUSE RACES; All 10 Incumbents Win Re-election, and Democrats Keep Majority in Delegation', The New York Times, November 4, 1992. Accessed June 15, 2011. "The Democrats also retained the seat held by Frank Pallone Jr., an incumbent. He defeated his Republican opponent in the Sixth District, State Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos, with a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent with 85 percent of the vote counted."
  30. ^ Johnson, Glen. "Romney Still in the Political Hunt", Associated Press, April 10, 2008. "New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, who served as Romney's New Jersey campaign chairman, said he has received four thank-you phone messages from Romney, which is more telling than the buttoned-down persona of the campaign."[dead link]
  31. ^ Burton, Cynthia. "Republican Kyrillos, running now for state Senate, eyes 2012 Senate run", The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 14, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2011.
  32. ^ Pizarro, Max. Source: Kyrillos sets up exploratory committee for U.S. Senate run", PolitckerNJ, June 12, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2011.
  33. ^ Delli Santi, Angela (January 19, 2012). "GOP NJ Sen. Kyrillos to run for US Senate". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  34. ^ Pizarro, Max (January 19, 2012). "Kyrillos's formal statement on running for U.S. Senate". Politicker NJ. 
  35. ^ Delli Santi, Angela (January 19, 2012). "Joseph Kyrillos Challenging Robert Menendez For New Jersey U.S. Senate Seat". Huffington Post. 
  36. ^ "Official List Candidates for State Senate For GENERAL ELECTION 11/05/2015 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 4, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Official List Candidates for US Senate - For GENERAL ELECTION 11/06/2012" (PDF). New Jersey Secretary of State. December 6, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  38. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2007 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 3, 2007. Accessed June 22, 2012.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Chuck Haytaian
Chairperson of the New Jersey Republican State Committee
Succeeded by
Tom Wilson
Preceded by
Thomas Kean, Jr.
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from New Jersey
(Class 1)

Most recent
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
James T. Phillips
Member of the New Jersey Senate for the 13th District
January 14, 1992 – present
Succeeded by
New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
Joseph Azzolina
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly for the 13th District
January 12, 1988 – January 14, 1992
With: JoAnn H. Smith
Succeeded by
Joseph Azzolina