Volume 5/Issue 25

  • Assembly Democrats Add to Their Majority on Election Night
  • Notable Local Election Results

Assembly Democrats Add to Their Majority on Election Night

The Assembly Democrats added to their majority on Election Night, when their candidates defeated three incumbent Republican legislators.  The Democrats may pick up an additional seat in the sixteenth legislative district, where the Republican incumbent is trailing but it remains too close to call. Regardless of that result, Democrats will see their largest majority in the Assembly in three decades, increasing their numbers from the current 47 members to at least 51 representatives, only three votes short a veto-proof majority.  

In the first legislative district, which currently has split representation, incumbent GOP Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi was defeated by Democratic Assembly candidate Bruce Land, a Vietnam Veteran and former corrections officer. Land’s running-mate, Assemblyman Bob Andrzejckak, was the top vote getter in a campaign that centered on economic issues in the State’s southernmost counties.  Both Democratic candidates aligned their campaign closely to popular Democratic State Senator Jeff Van Drew.

In the eleventh legislative district, which is comprised of Monmouth County shore towns, Republican Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande were defeated by Democratic challengers Eric Houghtaling and Pam Downey.  Houghtaling is a career electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Downey is an attorney who previously worked in the Attorney General’s Office.  The race tightened in the final weeks of the campaign when the General Majority PAC, a nationwide Super PAC focused on electing Democratic state legislators, spent nearly $200,000 on mail and ads against Assemblywoman Angelini. 

In the sixteenth legislative district, GOP Assemblywoman Donna Simon trails Democratic challenger Andrew Zwicker by 30 votes.  Zwicker, a physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for Congress in 2014 to replace former U.S. Representative Rush Holt. The Central-Northern New Jersey district includes municipalities in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset Counties.  Incumbent GOP Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli retained his seat.

In the only other competitive campaign, second legislative district incumbents Chris Brown (Republican) and Vince Mazzeo (Democrat) retained their seats in a close election. The Atlantic and Cape May County district saw a campaign mainly contested over the future of Atlantic City.

Notable Local Election Results   

In Hoboken, incumbent Council President Peter Cunningham and Sixth Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino won re-election.  First Ward Candidate Michael DelFusco defeated five-term incumbent Theresa Castellano and Second Ward Candidate Tiffanie Fisher picked up the seat left by departing Councilwoman Beth Mason.  Cunningham, Giattino, DelFusco and Fisher are aligned with Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Former Assemblyman Ruben Ramos defeated incumbent Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti and Dana Wefer, the chair of the Hoboken Housing Authority who was also aligned with Mayor Zimmer.  Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo ran unopposed.

In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop’s non-binding ballot initiative to move the city’s nonpartisan local elections from May to November won by a 52%-48 margin.  The city council will need to vote to formally move the elections to November.

The Democrats retained their freeholder majorities in contested elections in Bergen and Passaic Counties, while Republicans defeated the Democratic incumbents in Burlington County, giving the GOP complete control of the board.