Sterley Stanley prevailed tonight in LD18.
The final tally –
East Brunswick Council President Stanley: 184 votes
Edison Councilman Joe Coyle: 135 votes.
Stanley ran with the backing the Middlesex County Democratic Committee (MCDC) for the seat left vacant by former Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, who now serves as the county clerk.
Coyle got into the race late, just last week, in fact, and proved his viability in sprawling Edison.
But Stanley crept into Coyle’s base there, and ultimately had the support of one of the strongest political organizations in the state, and the backing of relevant players, including district kingpin state Senator Pat Diegnan (D-18) and Pinkin.
On the eve of tonight’s scheduled special virtual Middlesex County Democratic Organization (MCDO) convention to fill an LD18 vacancy, he fired off a letter to Chairman Kevin McCabe in response to denials by the organization to fulfill his request for an observer.
That fact that Stanley had the machine behind him made Coyle especially eager to install an ally at the vote-tally point, but the organization – and specifically McCabe on at least one occasion – denied him with what amounted to a one-word reason:
Following the vote count, Coyle – albeit irritated with how the organization conducted the contest – conceded to victor Stanley.
The convention came almost a year after Pinkin announced that she would not run for reelection and would instead seek the Democratic nomination for Middlesex County Clerk.
“It has been my great honor to represent the 18th Legislative District in the General Assembly and I am thrilled that I will have the opportunity to represent all of Middlesex County as its next County Clerk ,” said Pinkin at the time. “I will be reaching out to the county committee and municipal leaders throughout the county in the coming weeks.
“Middlesex County has been my home and the place where my husband and I raised our family. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve all of our residents and I believe strongly that my experience as both a local elected official and a state legislature has prepared me for this role.”
Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-19) issued the following statement regarding the election of Stanley to fill the 18th District Assembly seat left vacant:
“I am very pleased to have Sterley Stanley join the People’s House as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly Democratic Caucus.
“Sterley is a true and dedicated public servant who distinguished himself as a two-term East Brunswick councilman and he makes history as the first South Asian Assemblyman from Middlesex County.
“I look forward to working with Assemblyman Stanley as we seek to advance our shared priorities of protecting the middle class and our most vulnerable residents.”