LD36 Flashpoint: The Political Incarnation of Encarnacion


She just arrived to the dance in South Hacknsack, but Township Committeewoman Yris Encarnacion could find herself suddenly catapulted up the totem pole in LD36 if Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-36) becomes Democrat Phil Murphy’s pick for lieutenant governor.

Caride is apparently on Murphy’s short list for the job.

First elected in 2016, Encarnacion stands among just a handful of Latina elected officials in the 36th, and a more obvious choice for the party owing to Assemblyman Gary Schaer’s (D-36) occupation of the City of Passaic, a largely Hispanic burgh and by far the biggest municipality in the 36th.

Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato lives in the district, specifically in the South Bergen portion, and might be reluctant to promote a second Passaic person. Caride first got to the assembly following 2011 redistricting as a fulfilment to the late Alan Rosenthal’s edict that the 36th needed to include opportunities for Hispanics.

There are potential replacements for Caride, including the respected Freeholder Steven A. Tanelli, but it is difficult to picture Schaer and state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36) – the latter of whom sat on the redistricting commission and personally undertook the search to find Caride – selecting a white male without suffering some blow back.

At present, Encarnacion could be the most viable option if Caride departs to go statewide.

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