Legislative Election Guide (from Most to Least Competitive)

Insider NJ's Jay Lassiter questions whether New Jersey politicians are working for the people who elected them or the special interests that fund their campaigns. He cites recent issues with Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt.

As much as you try to turn this legislative election cycle into The Iliad or The Odyssey, it still feels like

Trump
Trump

Mallrats.

As enticing as it is to look up at the sky and see “rosy fingered dawn,” it just lacks epic implications.

That said, those incumbent assembly people and the people who stepped up to run against them would probably offer different opinions.

If you examine the list of all 40 legislative districts below, ranked from most competitive to least, you’ll find an overriding narrative: Republicans on defense.

Murphy

Had Governor Phil Murphy gotten his way and convinced the legislature to back a millionaire’s tax, maybe we would have a different plot in front of us, but the saturation of President Donald J. Trump at the national level and the combined effect of multiple election cycles favoring Democrats contribute to very good vibrations for the majority party.

Certainly, well-funded Republicans will try to change the narrative and note the dangers of one-party rule). That’s what the incumbents plan to do in LD21 as they head into the teeth of this year’s general election cycle.

Democrats in the Legislature are so strong in the post Christie Trump era that their sport of choice is beating the governor in an ongoing game of political Monopoly.

Republicans would seem to be sufficiently irrelevant not to worry about,  only the Democrats have a chance to put more boots on the ground.

And boots can trample all over Allbirds sneakers.

LD8

Incumbent Assemblyman Ryan Peters and his running mate, retiring Sheriff Jean Stanfield, won the GOP nomination for legislative district 8 in the 2019 Primary Election. Incumbent Assemblyman Joe Howarth lost.
Incumbent Assemblyman Ryan Peters and his running mate, retiring Sheriff Jean Stanfield, won the GOP nomination for legislative district 8 in the 2019 Primary Election. Incumbent Assemblyman Joe Howarth lost.

Unsatisfied with a super majority in the assembly, Democrats want more. The people’s party otherwise known as the engine room of South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross III sniffs an opportunity in Burlington County, where U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) last year turned out incumbent Republican Tom MacArthur and Democrats took control of the countywide freeholder board for the first time in 44 years. In 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in Burlington 55-40%. In desperate self protection mode, the GOP (with new Chairman Sean Earlen) want to

LaPlaca

restore their star Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-8) to office with his running mate, retiring Sheriff Jean Stanfield. Also the most obvious party member to take on Kim next year, Peters – amid terrible political weather – must face the toughest test of his political career in the person of Gina LaPlaca and her running mate Mark Natale. In his general election favor, Peters distanced himself (and then ran over in the GOP Primary) Assemblyman Joe Howarth, whose road to victory was to attempt to depict Peters as a moderate. Unlike Bramnick, Munoz and Bucco, however, he lacks longstanding iconic name ID in a battleground district.

LD1

Originally from Paterson, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-2) took the disorganization inherent in New Jersey’s most fascinatingly diverse city and distilled it into a brand of abiding South Jersey political order. Now his special convention-promoted acolyte Senator Bob Andrzejczak of Cape May has a shot at securing the seat Van Drew left behind when he beat Republican Seth Grossman to become congressman in the 2nd District (a district where Trump beat Clinton 51-46%), successor to retired U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2).  Andrzejczak tops a legislative ticket that includes fellow Democratic Assemblyman Bruce Land and Matt Milam in a classic who-can-move-to-the-right-as-fast-as-possible- without-looking-quite-as-innately-ideological-as-Grossman. In 2017, his last legislative district-wide race, Van Drew destroyed his Republican opponent 2-1. Now the man he trained for the job is up against Cumberland County GOP Chairman Mike Testa of Vineland, who heads a ticket accompanied by  Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan.

LD25

Incumbent Anthony Bucco wins renomination in a four-person GOP 2019 primary election in Legislative District 25.
Incumbent Anthony Bucco wins renomination in a four-person GOP 2019 primary election in Legislative District 25.

Incumbent Assemblyman Tony Bucco of Boonton has a name defined district-wide for nearly 25 years, strong enough to defeat Chris Christie in 1995. But that was the assemblyman’s father, running on a ticket with Michael Patrick Carroll. Now Tony, Jr. – armed with a name but without his father at the top of the ticket and without the reinforcing political animal warmth of Carroll – must win a general election on his own. Maybe lacking controversial

Bhimani

movement conservative Carroll this year is a good thing (he’s retiring from the assembly) in favor of new running mate (Bruce Bergen of Denville). Whatever the case, this is a real race in a district where Bucco, Jr. won by just 3,000 votes last time against a pair of males in a district defined in part since by the energy of suburban women who last year helped elect U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11). Democratic challengers Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger were part of that movement behind Sherrill and are running an animated race. Last week, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) offered a split ticket endorsement of Bucco and Bhimani, which was more than they gave the Democratic challengers in LD21 as they backed both incumbents.

Bramnick, left, and DiMaio.

LD21

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, Republicans respectively from Westfield and Summit, face a challenge by a ticket consisting of attorney Lisa Mandelblatt of Westfield and working mom Stacey Gunderman. There is some turbulence here for the GOP. Two years ago, Shelley Brindle stunned

Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman, both running for State Assembly in the 21st Legislative District, won their primary against opposition candidate Jill LaZare. They are officially set to face off against Republicans Jon Bramnick and Nancy Munoz in the general election on November 5.
Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman, both running for State Assembly in the 21st Legislative District, won their primary against opposition candidate Jill LaZare. They are officially set to face off against Republicans Jon Bramnick and Nancy Munoz in the general election on November 5.

Westfield when she defeated the Republican mayoral incumbent; and Lacey Rzeszowski gave Bramnick the political fright of his life when she recorded 32,719 votes to the Republican incumbent’s 35,283 and came within 1,554 votes of beating  Munoz. Appalled by President Donald J. Trump, educated suburban voters didn’t want to empower Republicans acquiescent to his rule. They turned Republican incumbent Leonard Lance out of office last year for the same reason, elevating U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat. All the trend lines favor the challengers here, including expectations in Somerset County for Democrats to followup on countywide victories in 2017 and 2018 to take control of the freeholder board. Bramnick, however, is confident that the unpopularity of Governor Chris Christie contributed to his and Munoz’s near-loss in 2017 as much as Trump. Democratic Governor Murphy, they argue, tried

Munoz
Assemblyman Nancy Munoz (R-21)

(unsuccessfully) to impose a millionaire’s district that would have unduly burdened the 21st Legislative District, and they go into this season armed with examples everywhere of a Democratic Party in Trenton intent on cannibalizing itself. Bramnick’s also got a lot of money in the bank. He’ll spend it on a shock and awe-style air war. The challengers are knocking hard on doors and will have sufficient air war money to retaliate. Implications of this race on 2020? If Democrats put a mortal political dent in the chief lieutenant of state Senator Tom Kean (R-21) – set to challenge Malinowski next year – those looking out for the best interests of the Republican scion may tell him to rethink the whole thing. Then again, Democrats could install someone like Bernie Sanders at the top of the ticket and presumably give Malinowski a severe case of 2020 agita. One other element to this race that’s interesting is the presence of movement conservative independents Martin Marks and Harris Pappas, who could either be irrelevant or do just enough damage to the Republican ticket to give an edge to Mandelblatt and Gunderman.

LD2

Mazzeo

This is one of those districts that Democrats (specifically the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee) always want to make sure they have a leg in, because LD2 contains Atlantic City. In that sense, the case could be made for the district to top this list in terms of party priorities. There are business interests there, of course, to put it in the gentlest terms possible. So they need bodies, particularly since state Senator Chris Brown (R-2) in 2017 shifted the district’s legislative throne back to Republican rule in the aftermath of the death of state Senator Jim Whelan (D-2), who succeeded Republican Senator Bill Gormley and spent ten years as Democratic senator. So the Democrats have to make sure they reinstall Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) of Northfield and his running mate Assemblyman John Armato (D-2) of Buena. Republicans put up Philip J. Guenther of Brigantine (a former mayor) and Freeolder John Risley of Egg Harbor Twp. Risley put his ticket’s case this way to The Press of Atlantic City: “We have a state that is headed in the wrong direction — in fact, we’re heading for financial disaster. The Democrats are in full control of all three branches of government, and they have the pedal to the medal.” That may so. But too much money is concentrated in Atlantic City for Democrats to loss there in a cycle still overshadowed by Trump.

LD11

Downey and Houghtaling
Downey and Houghtaling at their kickoff.

This was a Republican district in 2015. It was once the Republican answer to LD28 or LD31: a sure GOP bet. But the combination of Christie’s civil stewardship of the state, South Jersey Democrats and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) working in lockstep for a common political purpose, and good grassroots organizing by future state Senator Vin Gopal (D-11), Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-11) and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11) have respectively become seaside salt and pepper pompadour and bomber jacket party icons. As always, DACC will put real money in here to protect the incumbents. You talk to Republicans and they insist on the party having to rebuild with women offended by the president. So what do they do here? They run a pair of guys named Michael Amoroso and Matthew Woolley. We’re not saying their sex is the kiss of death, but as they try to make the case about Murphy and Democratic Party mismanagement and malfeasance, they will be standing on doorsteps with the albatross of Trump around their party’s collective neck. Given the numbers, and its strategic importance to Dems, it’s still probably a million dollar contest.

Senator Troy Singleton and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker respond to Governor Phil Murphy’s conditional veto of their bill that would require disclosure of lobbying groups and those who try to influence NJ elections.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16).

LD16

Freiman

Speaking on condition of anonymity last week, a Somerset Republican didn’t give GOP challengers Mark Caliguire and Christine Madrid much of a shot against incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman. The double whammy of Christie and Trump in addition to changing demographics significantly altered the 16th District, once the heart of Central Jersey Republicanism. The GOP establishment (what’s left of it) detest Zwicker, and have tried ever since he landed on the legislative scene in 2015 to paint him as an effete, latte-sipping snob who prefers the company of books

Caliguire
Somerset Freeholder Mark Caliguire (right) with U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance.

to bar stools. It hasn’t worked. The Princeton University plasma physicist (who surfs in his spare summer time) beat rival Donna Simon by nearly 5,000 votes in 2017, after a 2015 election decided by fewer than 100 votes. Former Freeholder Caliguire of Montgomery wanted a rematch, and now he’s got Madrid instead of the retired Simon at his side. The trouble is no one on the GOP ticket is running out of the Hunterdon portion of the district, where Simon was able to galvanize the meat and potatoes GOP vote. Having nearly gotten picked off in 2017 (despite the presence of sanctuary city affirming, tax-raising Murphy at the top of the opposition ticket), state Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) must be watching the proceedings with some degree of vexation. If Zwicker can coattail the already heard-turningly-strong-early freshman Freiman and Democrats win here in convincing fashion, he might have a hard time resisting a state senate run in 2021.

LD14

This Hamilton, Steinert High School-centric district used to be split ticket heaven for political junkies. But Christie changed all that when he went after public pensions and benefits and then drove his own popularity into the ground, giving more than enough wiggle room to veterans Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo and Assemblyman Dan Benson. This was Pete Inverso legislative badlands, but it’s not fun anymore, where Trump beneath their wings Democrats expect to win in a walk over Republiccan challengers Thomas Calabrese and Bina Shah. That said, Hamilton is still home to a competitive local race, where Mayor Kelly Yaede, a Republican who crushed her primary opponent, will attempt to stare down Democrat Jeff Martin to run city hall.

LD38

Again, like LD2 and LD14 this used to be that nail-biter bellwether district you couldn’t take your eyes off of come general election season. But rampaging Bergen Democrats and opportunistic South Jersey types have emptied the life of Republicans trying to take over here. Kean, Jr. learned the hard way in 2017 when incumbent Senator Bob Gordon buried his candidate and he had to tell the allies of former state Senator Jennifer Beck (beaten that year by Senator Vin Gopal) why didn’t spend more time playing defense in Monmouth rather than hopeless offense in Bergen. Word was he gave a completely unsatisfying all-knowing grin in reply. Now, given the fact that Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and Assemblyman Christopher Tully are untested (when Gordon retired from the senate, Lagana moved up to take his seat, Tim Eustace retired from the assembly, and Bergen Democrats summoned Swain and Tully as un-elected replacements), the GOP should have a shot here. They’re running Michael Kazimir and  Christopher DiPiazza.

LD39

We’re going back to the Speaker Vinny Prieto (D-32) era to even invoke this district, long a Republican

Schepisi.

stronghold. Prieto’s pathway to re-securing the speakership included bumping off incumbent Republican Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39) and Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-39). It never happened. But it was closer than Shepisi and Auth might have liked, as they rode back into office respectively by 5,000 and 4,000 votes.  You don’t think it’s close up there in Cardinale country? Top vote-getter Schepisi snagged 34,158 votes. Democratic challenger Jannie Chung won 29,126. Another two years of Trump have strengthened Democrats in Bergen, once a swing county that now resembles a leafier version of Hudson. It’s hard to see Democrats dropping LD11-sized cash into LD39, however, to relieve Schepisi and Auth in favor of Gerald Falotico and John Birkner, Sr. (males running in another female-dominant cycle). This is a winnable district for Democrats in this environment, but they don’t look warpaint-poised there, as they prioritize neighboring newcomer incumbents in LD38.

LD23

Yeah, yeah. It’s not competitive. But then again, you can probably say the same about the rest of the districts on this list. Incumbent Republicans Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-23) and Assemblyman Eric Peterson (R-23) aren’t in any danger. They occupy a Republican district dominated by two counties that went convincingly for Trump (38K to 29K votes in Hunterdon and 30K to 17K in Warren) in 2016 and denied Murphy (Hunterdon by nearly 20 percentage points and Warren by 26%) in 2017. At a certain point, the solidly Republican districts are what they are, only more so in Trump weather, and that may be the case here. Democrats Marisa Trofimov and Denise King say otherwise. If King – from Bedminster – runs strong she may (at the very least) help the countywide Democratic ticket in Somerset which is bucking for control of the long-Republican controlled county. Regarding Somerset, DiMaio and Peterson might have to keep an eye (a little bit) on the most populous town in the district, Bridgewater, where their GOP ally, mayoral candidate Matthew  Moench, faces a real contest from Democratic School Board member Jeff Brookner. The point is: at this stage of LD23’s existence, it’s more than just Mountain Man country.

Ballotpedia
Ballotpedia

LD26

LD26 Assemblyman Jay Webber
LD26 Assemblyman Jay Webber

The district weighs toward the GOP and there’s no Mikie Sherrill in the breach looking for payback. But her supporters want to keep the making-Webber’s-life-miserable game alive by running a sweep the decks-style campaign against the Republican star assemblyman defeated last year by Sherrill in a federal contest. But Webber’s not the only incumbent. Certainly, the political world knows that he and Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-26) aren’t the best of chums. An intra-office squabble resulted in the pair re-entrenching in their own separate digs. Pre-2018 debacle, the Republican incumbents won by about 6K votes and maybe times have changed (a little since), or so hope Democratic challengers Laura Fortgang and Christine Clarke. Morris Democrats insist they smell blood. But if they want to capitalize on Webber’s wounds, they’ll have to do better than what the off-federal election year numbers reflect in this year’s primaries, where the GOP incumbents  received double the numbers (9.4K for Webber and 8.8K for DeCroce) posted by Fortgang and Clarke (4.3K and 4.2K).

LD4

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of Sewell and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera of Blackwood command a district where registered Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by well over 2-1. Still, they have challengers in the general election race: Paul Dilks of Turnersville and Stephen Pakradooni of Sewell.

LD3

Sure, a lot’s changed since then and the dynamics are completely different now, but don’t forget the fact that Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) barely inch-wormed to reelection in 2009, the same year he took out Dick Codey to ascend to the senate throne. Sweeney’s not on the ticket this time, having bested a Republican-NJEA-fueled general election rival in the most expensive legislative contest of all-time in 2017. Humiliated by Sweeney’s money and ground game, the NJEA’s sitting on its hands this time, neither backing a GOP alternative to the senate president’s pals not backing their reelection. Republicans will try to capitalize on purple district dimensions and George Norcross III scandal to make an example out of Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3) and Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro (D-3). The trouble is Sweeney’s always worked well (minus Kean Jr.) with the leadership columns of the GOP. InsiderNJ isn’t hearing about any kind of animated effort going on in the backyard of the senate prez, a dealmaker and caucus soother, whose talents extend to keeping his own flock plump, pampered, and not in any danger of having to break a real sweat this election season. Republican challengers Beth Sawyer and Edward Durr argue otherwise in a district where Democrats on paper outnumber Republican affiliateds by over 51K-30K. Like LD4, this is a maintenance level, look-under-the-hood-it-it’s-warranted district.

LD13

Incumbent Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13) of Holmdel is joined on the Republican ticket by Monmouth County Freeholder Gerard Scharfenberger of Middletown (the sub for retiring Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, out-dueled for the upper house by state Senator Declan O’Scanlon). They face Democrats Allison Friedman of Aberdeen and Barbara Singer of Holmdel.Since first powering Houghtaling and Downey into office in 2015, Democrats have relied on LD13 to keep Monmouth Republicans off balance and focused on defense there rather than offensive maneuvers to regain LD11. But it’s nothing more than that.

LD9

Veteran footsoldier Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-9) and Assemblywoman Dianne C. Gove (R-9) will morre than convincingly hold off Democrats Sarah Collins and Wayne Lewis, who hope the meltdown of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore will splash on the incumbents.

LD10

The only news coming out of here was the retirement this year of Assemblyman David Wolfe (R-9), a longtime reliable lieutenant for the Ocean GOP. Wolfe’s running mate, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-9) of Toms River will soldier on with Councilman John Catalano of Brick. As in LD9, Democrats (Eileen Della Volle and Erin Wheeler, both of Brick) will run on a combination of Trump and Gilmore toxicity. Two third party candidates (Vincent Barrella and Ian Holmes) are running are running with a slogan purportedly representing Integrity, Experience, Leadership. The reelection of the GOP ticket here, as in LD9 and LD30, will fall on the shoulders of new county party chairman, Frank Holman. and he’ll do great.

LD30

Assemblyman Sean Kean and Assemblyman Ned Thompson have the advantage of a nearly 2-1 Republican district and appear to be in cruise control against Democrats Steven Farkas and Yasin Celik.

LD12

When the NJEA endorsed both incumbent Republicans Assemblyman Ronald Dancer and Assemblyman Robert Clifton, they as much as told Democratic challengers David Lande and Malini Guha that they have no shot.

LD40

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Rooney and Assemblyman Chris DePhillips have stayed too busy in a Republican district to keep alive more than the earnest hopes of Democratic challengers Michael Sedon and Maria Martini Cordonnier.

LD18

Again, this used to be a competitive district as recently as Christie’s 2013 reelection. But Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin of East Brunswick and Assemblyman Robert Karbinchak of Edison don’t appear (in this climate) in jeopardy against Republican Robert Bengivenga and Jeffrey Brown, respectively from South Plainfield and East Brunswick. It says a lot about the noncompetitive condition of the district that Democrats would invite the millionaire’s tax-seeking Governor Murphy in to join them for a labor day parade, apparently assured of little blow back. Police then canceled the event.

LD19

It’s Speaker Craig Coughlin’s district, and contains the most Democratic town in Middlesex County (Perth Amboy, 7-1 Democratic registration advantage). Coughlin (from Woodbridge) and Yvonne Lopez (from Perth Amboy) appear to have a walk in the waterfront park (and dinner at Seabra’s, an easy, relaxing sail around the bay, and ice cream at Bayside Creamery) in an on-paper-only confrontation with Republicans Christian Onuocha of Parlin and Rocco Genova of Colonia.

LD7

Veteran Assemblyman Herb Conaway of Delran and his running mate, Assemblywoman Carol Murphy of Mount Laurel (whose husband, Mike Muller, runs DAAC), have but one Republican to give to their country: Peter Miller of Moorsetown. In other district news, Katheleen Cooley is running as “True Blue Unbossed.”

LD17

The Central Jersey Progressives tried to make a race out of this in the primary with talented newcomer Ron Rivers, but incumbent Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Joe Egan of New Brunswick and Assemblyman Joe Danielsen of Franklin Twp. walked through to victory. They look like reelection locks, but high on Danielsen’s list of priorities is getting his friend, former Franklin Twp. Lieutenant Darrin Russo, elected sheriff. In order to beat North Plainfield Police Chief Bill Parenti countywide in Somerset, Russo will need monster numbers in his hometown of Franklin, requiring a very game Danielsen. As alluded to elsewhere on this list, Democrats will also need Franklin to propel Melanie Marano of Green Brook Twp. to a win over incumbent Freeholder Pat Walsh (also of Green Brook) in order to take control of the freeholder board.  Walsh is in a real dogfight as it is, and stands to lose the election if Franklin comes up big behind Danielsen. He and Egan face Republicans Patricia Badovinac (Piscataway) and Maria Concepcion Powell (New Brunswick).

LD27

It’s a Democratic district with no discernible path to victory for Republican challengers Michael Dailey of Madison and Mauro Tucci, Jr. of Caldwell over Democratic incumbents Assemblyman John McKeon (West Orange) and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (South Orange).

LD37

Another North Jersey Democratic Party bastion, this time overseen by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, both of Englewood, poised to lap Republicans, Angela Hendricks of Hackensack and Gino Tessaro of Hackensack.

LD6

Assembly Majority Lou Greenwald will want to show some chest-thumping-sized numbers here in advance of what could be a 2021 gubernatorial run. He’s running with Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt. They also want to bandage over the embarrassment of progressives taking over the Collingswood Democratic Party in the primary. Those external and micro issues aside, they shouldn’t have too much trouble handling John Papeika of Cherry Hill and Cynthia Plucinski of Haddonfield, both Republicans.

LD5

Just like Newark (see below), Camden is in a state of crisis, brought more intensely to light in the midst of an ongoing scandal that erupted around the state Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) awarding of tax credits to businesses connected to South Jersey power broker George Norcross III. But Republicans don’t seem to have the answers (or organization) in this waterfront seedbed of political hazards. Chastised on social media but bulldozing through with a GN3-engineered organization behind them, Assemblyman William Spearman and Assemblyman William Moen Jr. should have little trouble flattening Nicholas Kush of Runnymede and Kevin Ehret of Haddon Heights.

LD22

In a Democratic year in a Democratic district, ubiquitous Assemblyman Jim Kennedy of Rahway and Assemblywoman Linda Carter should have little trouble handling Patricia Quattrocchi, who doesn’t have a running mate.

LD24

It’s a 2-1 Republican district where Assemblyman Parker Space (running for reelection with GOP ticket mate Assemblyman Hal Wirths) keeps a pet Confederate general groundhog, whose name we forget at the moment. Democrats Deana Lykins and Dan Soloman Smith appear to be running with all the best of intentions, as they likely find themselves up against a Stonewall.

LD36

Passaic City has too many Democrats and too much family pride is at stake in Cliffside Park as Democratic Assemblyman Gary Schaer and Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (in his first election since supplanting DOBI Commish Marlene Caride) anticipate rolling over Republican challengers Khaldoun Androwis of Wallington and Foster Lowe of Little Ferry.

LD15

In a heavily Democratic district, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson of Trenton and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli of Pennington (both Democrats) will probably have a thornier time with the Legalize Marijuana Party candidates (Edward “Weedman” Forchion and Dioh Williams) than with their lone Republican challenger, Jennifer Williams of Trenton.

LD34

Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones is always motivated to show off his local party organization in East Orange (his hometown, where he also serves as party chairman), and he has that opportunity in November with Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake of East Orange on the ballot. She’s paired with veteran running mate Assemblyman Tom Giblin of Montclair. They are set to quash Republicans Bharatt Rana and Irene Davita, as sensible slogan-bearing third party challenger Clenard Howard Childress, Jr. of East Orange tries to get voters to “Stop the Madness.”

LD20

The Democratic pluralities are too big in Elizabeth and Hillside. This is an easy election for incumbents Assemblyman Jamel Holley of Roselle and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano of Elizabeth for Republicans Ashraf Hanna and Charles Donnelly (both of Union) to overcome.

LD31

Jersey City. Too much Democratic Party firepower. Assemblywoman Angela McKnight and Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti romp. Republicans Jason Todd Mushnick and Mary Kay Palange have the assigned kamikaze duties in the district.

LD28

Another overwhelmingly Democratic district, where Assemblyman Ralph Caputo of Nutley and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Jones have the Democratic Party line. That lead contamination issue is national news, people are genuinely scared, but Republican challengers Antonio Pires and Joy Bembry-Freeman could personally snake line the entire water system and line it with solid gold and they still wouldn’t have the party line. A third party candidate, Derrick Ross, is running on a slogan called “Strength in Numbers,” which he presumably thinks he possesses.

LD35

The Republicans couldn’t find a second candidate in this Paterson-centric district to run with Tamer Mamkej. That means a bore snore general election sleepwalk by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly.

LD29

It’s Newark where there’s a lead pipe contamination crisis, but it’s also among the most Democratic Party-strong cities in the state. Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Assemblywoman Shanique Davis-Speight also have the high-performing, county-connected North Ward Democratic Organization behind them. They should make easy work (please bear with the cliches at this point, we’re almost at the end) of Republican challengers John Anello and Jeanette Veras. There are two other candidates in the race to make it (kind of) interesting: Nichelle Velaquez and Yolanda Johnson, both running on a slogan of Jobs and Equal Rights.

LD32

Just as they will in LD33, the forces of state Senator Nick Sacco (D-32) will run the drill here behind Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32) and assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D-32) in a district where Democrats have more than a 55-10% voter registration edge. Republicans have put up Ann Carletta and Francesca Curreli. Two words. Not happening.

LD33

Forget about Fabian. The Republicans could bring in a ticket composed of Elvis and Pink Floyd. It’s not happening here. This is a 55-10% Democratic district batoned by state Senator Brian P. Stack (from Bob Menendez), whose people are roaming the streets with mail pieces and palm cards when most of the rest of the world has the covers pulled over its head. On paper, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) and Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) face Republicans Holly Lucyk and Fabian Rohena, but will be more preoccupied with the numbers in neighboring LD32 than their general election opponents district-wide, no matter how many Bo Diddley songs the GOP remakes.

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