Birthdate: April 12, 1960
Birth Place: Kearney, NJ, United States
Residence: Middletown, NJ
Joe Kyrillos was born in Kearney, N.J., and raised in Middletown, where he still resides. He received a bachelor's degree from Hobart College and a master's degree from Boston University.
Kyrillos has long been a major player in New Jersey's Republican Party. He served in the General Assembly from 1988 to 1991, and has been in the state Senate since 1992.
Kyrillos was leader of the Senate's Republican caucus from 1997 until 2003. He was chairman of the Republican State Committee from 2001 through 2004 and served as campaign chairman for Gov. Chris Christie in 2009.
Kyrillos and wife, Susan, have two children.
Joe Kyrillos, a fixture in New Jersey's Senate, is looking to move to Washington to serve in the U.S. Senate.
The Republican is taking on incumbent Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez. Given New Jersey's voting history, he faces an uphill battle. The state has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972.
Kyrillos has tried to move to Washington before; he ran for Congress in 1992, but lost.
A former leader of the Republican state Senate caucus and chairman of the State Republican Committee, Kyrillos is a close associate of Gov. Chris Christie. He was chairman of Christie's election committee in 2009, helping engineer an upset of the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Jon Corzine.
Kyrillos' history with Christie is deep and personal. Christie and his wife played matchmaker for Kyrillos and the woman who would become his wife.
In the New Jersey Senate, Kyrillos is seen as a liaison between the Legislature and the high-profile governor.
Kyrillos' campaign has received high-profile help, not only from Christie, but also from Mitt Romney. The Republican presidential candidate was the headliner at a fundraiser for Kyrillos in April 2012.
He has still trailed Menedez, a former chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, in campaign money.
In the state Legislature, Kyrillos has been a fervent opponent of a Democratic proposal to raise the income tax rate for high earners. "We lose high net worth people when we do it. That's the bottom line," Kyrillos said in 2012. "New Jersey's not an island, so people can relocate their assets, and they do."
In his congressional campaign, Kyrillos has focused on tax and budget issues rather than social policy.
He favors balancing the federal budget and repealing the 2010 health care reform bill.
He voted against legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey in 2012, but said enforcement of a civil unions law giving the legal protections of marriage to same-sex couples needed to be improved.
In 2011, he was vocal in his opposition to reality TV star Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi's appearance at Rutgers University, for which she was paid $32,000. He said public college students should not have to pay for entertainment they find objectionable.
Source: Associated Press