Michael J. Doherty

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Michael J. Doherty
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 23rd district
Assumed office
November 23, 2009
Preceded byMarcia Karrow
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 23rd district
In office
January 8, 2002 – November 23, 2009
Preceded byLeonard Lance
Succeeded byErik Peterson
Personal details
Born (1963-05-24) May 24, 1963 (age 55)
Point Pleasant, New Jersey,
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Linda Doherty
Alma materUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Seton Hall University (JD)

Michael J. Doherty (born May 24, 1963) is an American Republican Party politician who serves in the New Jersey Senate representing the 23rd Legislative District. He was sworn into the State Senate on November 23, 2009, having won the seat held by Marcia A. Karrow, who had earlier been selected by a party convention to succeed Leonard Lance after his election to the United States House of Representatives. Doherty had served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2002 to 2009.


Doherty was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey and resides in Washington Township, Warren County, New Jersey.[1] Doherty grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey and graduated from Glen Ridge High School in 1981. In 1985, Doherty graduated with a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and was commissioned as an officer in the Field Artillery. Doherty served on active duty in the United States Army from 1985–1989 and in the United States Army Reserve from 1989–1993, achieving the rank of Captain. He is a graduate of the United States Army Airborne School, the U.S. Army Jungle School and the Defense Language Institute (German). In the Army, he was stationed in Germany and served as a nuclear operations officer. His unit's mission was to utilize nuclear armed missiles to defend Western Europe and NATO forces from possible Soviet aggression. He was granted a Top Secret clearance to perform his nuclear duties.[2]

Doherty and his wife, Linda, have three sons, who have served or are serving on active duty in different branches of the armed forces: Matthew, U.S. Army; Ryan, U.S. Marine Corps; and Jared, U.S. Air Force.[2]

In 1993, he was awarded a J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law. Doherty is a patent attorney, specializing in semiconductor and medical device technology.[2]

Elected office[edit]

Board of Chosen Freeholders: Doherty served on the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders.[3] In 2000, Doherty defeated the incumbent Freeholder Director, a Democrat, to capture control of the Freeholder Board for the Republican Party. In 2001, he served as Deputy Director of the Freeholder Board.[3] He was elected to serve as the Director of the Freeholder Board in both 2002 and 2003.[3] During his three years on the Freeholder Board, Doherty cut the county tax rate by 21%. Doherty also began a program to reduce the county debt so that today Warren County has the lowest debt of any county in the state. He also prevailed in a showdown with a Superior Court judge who threatened to jail Doherty unless he issued $5 million in bonds to fund an expansion of Warren County Community College. The New Jersey Supreme Court sided with Doherty and held that the Freeholder Board was correct to ignore the judge's order.[4]

General Assembly: Doherty was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2001, and was re-elected in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He served in the Assembly on the Appropriations Committee and the Labor Committee.[3] Early in his Assembly career, he served on the Agriculture Committee, the Housing and the Local Government Committee, and the State House Commission.

State Senate: In November 2008, Doherty announced his intention to run for the State Senate seat vacated by Leonard Lance, who was elected to represent the 7th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.[5] Doherty's opponent in the race was Assemblywoman Marcia A. Karrow.[6] Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt originally planned to run for the vacancy as well, but he dropped out to run for one of the Assembly vacancies opened up by Karrow or Doherty.[7] On January 24, 2009, a special election was held by a convention of Republican committee members from Hunterdon and Warren counties. Karrow defeated Doherty in the special election by a margin of 195 votes to 143. Doherty announced that he would run against Karrow a second time in the June 2009 primary, when she would be running as the incumbent. Doherty gave up his Assembly seat by opposing Karrow in the primary.[8] On June 2, 2009, Doherty defeated Karrow in the Republican Senate primary by a margin of 52%-48%.[9][10] He defeated the Democratic candidate Harvey Baron in a special election on November 3, 2009, to fill the remaining two years of the Senate term, garnering 71% of the vote.[11] He was first sworn into his Senate seat on November 23, 2009.[12] In the Senate for the 2018-19 session, Doherty serves on the Education Committee and the Judiciary Committee.[13] Doherty was re-elected to the Senate in November 2011, 2013 and 2017 by wide margins.

District 23[edit]

Each of the 40 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 30th District for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are:[14][15]

Endorsements and recognitions[edit]

Doherty has been endorsed repeatedly by pro-business groups such as the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Restaurant Association and the National Federation of Independent Business (awarded a perfect 100% voting record by the NFIB). His voting record is ranked A+ by the National Rifle Association and has been repeatedly endorsed by New Jersey Right to Life. Doherty is an outspoken critic of the court system, and has introduced numerous pieces of legislation challenging court decisions and procedures. He was designated as "Legislator of the Year" in 2007 by the N.J. Family Policy Council for his continued efforts to support conservative legislation. Doherty is a self-described global warming skeptic.[16]

On November 10, 2007, Doherty became the first elected official from New Jersey to publicly endorse Ron Paul for President of the United States.[17] In 2011, Doherty endorsed Paul for U.S. President in the 2012 election.[18]

2012 U.S. Senate election[edit]

There had been speculation that Doherty would run against incumbent Bob Menendez for United States Senator.[19] Assemblyman John DiMaio from the same legislative district as Doherty has said he would endorse Doherty if he ran.[20]

In February 2012, Doherty announced his support for Joseph M. Kyrillos for the Republican nomination for the 2012 U.S. Senate race.[21]

Election history[edit]

New Jersey State Senate elections, 2013[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michael J. Doherty (incumbent) 37,477 67.6
Democratic Gerard R. Bowers 17,311 31.2
Independent Daniel Z. Seyler 672 1.2
Republican hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michael J. Doherty (incumbent) 27,750 61.3
Democratic John Graf, Jr. 12,579 35.7
Independent Daniel Z. Seyler 1,040 3.0
Republican hold


  1. ^ Assembly Member Michael J. Doherty, Project Vote Smart. Accessed August 16, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Senator Michael J. Doherty, New Jersey Senate Republicans. Accessed November 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Assemblyman Doherty's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed April 5, 2007
  4. ^ "WARREN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. WARREN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS, Defendant-Appellant. IN RE: the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders Charged With Contempt of Court". FindLaw. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  5. ^ Wichert, Bill (2008-11-21). "Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow enters race to become state senator in 23rd Legislative District". The Express-Times. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  6. ^ Wichert, Bill (2008-12-15). "Three Republicans vie to fill state Senate seat due to be vacated by Leonard Lance". The Express-Times. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  7. ^ "Holt decides to run for assembly instead of state senate". PolitickerNJ. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  8. ^ "Karrow wins; calls for unity as Doherty vows to fight on in the primary". PolitickerNJ. 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  9. ^ "2009 New Jersey Primary Election Updates". NJ.com. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  10. ^ "Karrow loses in Hunterdon and Warren". PolitickerNJ. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
  11. ^ Wichert, Bill (2009-11-04). "Republican Michael Doherty wins New Jersey Senate post; GOP running mates John DiMaio and Erik Peterson capture state Assembly seats". The Express-Times. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  12. ^ Wichert, Bill (2009-11-23). "Michael Doherty sworn in as new state senator representing Warren, Hunterdon counties". The Express-Times. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  13. ^ Senator Doherty's page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Legislative Roster 2018-2019 Session, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 28, 2018.
  15. ^ District 23 Legislators, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "Doherty declares himself a global warming skeptic", May 9, 2007.
  17. ^ Fester, Larry. "Ron Paul brings his ‘Freedom Revolution’ to Independence Hall", USA Today, November 10, 2007. Accessed April 16, 2008. "Ron Paul was introduced by New Jersey assemblyman Mike Doherty, the first high profile elected official from the state of New Jersey to endorse Ron Paul."
  18. ^ "Ron Paul to Receive Endorsement of New Jersey State Sen. Mike Doherty". Archived from the original on 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  19. ^ D'Aprile, Shane (December 12, 2010). "New Jersey GOP lacking a name to face a more vulnerable Menendez". The Hill. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  20. ^ Pizarro, Max (17 August 2011). "DiMaio says he would support Doherty U.S. Senate bid". PolitickerNJ.com. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  21. ^ Pizzaro, Max. "Doherty formally backs Kyrillos for Senate", PolitickerNJ, February 10, 2012. Accessed June 22, 2012. "Surprising no one at this point after strengthening his relationship with the Christie administration, state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) today said he intends to back state state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) for U.S. Senate."
  22. ^ "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 4, 2015.
  23. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2011 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 14, 2011. Accessed June 22, 2012.

External links[edit]

New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
Leonard Lance
Member of the New Jersey Assembly
from the 23rd district

Served alongside: Connie Myers, Marcia A. Karrow, John DiMaio
Succeeded by
Erik Peterson
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
Marcia A. Karrow
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 23rd district