JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Comedian Joe Piscopo will not be running for New Jersey governor, the “Saturday Night Live” alumnus announced during his radio show Wednesday.
Piscopo, who had considered entering the race as an independent, said he doesn’t want to be a divider. He instead is endorsing Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno ahead of the June 6 primary election.
An ambassador for the Boys and Girls Club of New Jersey with five kids of his own, Piscopo previously said he was driven to run for the next generation.
The 65-year-old New Jersey native gained fame in the 1980s as a member of the “SNL” cast, impersonating Hoboken-born Frank Sinatra and former late-night host Dave Letterman.
Gov. Chris Christie predicted defeat for Piscopo the conservative announced in March that he wouldn’t run as a Republican amid speculation he would get into the GOP primary.
“The fact is independents don’t win in this state. They simply don’t,” Christie said at the time. “It seems to me that this is just an attempt by Mr. Piscopo to increase the ratings on his radio show. —I hope it does, for his sake.”
Independents lack party structure that can help get the vote out and raise money, according to Peter Woolley, a politics professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He added that it’s “well-nigh impossible” for an independent to win the state.
Not since the 19th century has New Jersey elected anyone other than a top-party candidate. Most recently, former environmental official Chris Daggett finished with about 6 percent of the vote in 2009.
Guadagno faces four challengers in the Republican primary, including Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Nutley commissioner Steve Rogers, businessman Joseph “Rudy” Rullo, and engineer Hirsh Singh.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)