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Legislative Updates

2023 Election Day Recap

On November 7, New Jersey held elections for all 120 seats in the New Jersey Legislature. While some predicted Republicans gaining seats in both Houses, the opposite took place with Democrats gaining one seat in the Senate, and five seats in the General Assembly making the new balance of power 25 (D) – 15 (R) in the Senate and 51 (D) - 29 (R) in the General Assembly as of January 9, 2024 when the new Legislative Session begins.

Below please find a summary of the South Jersey legislative races, as well as other competitive Districts across the state and other unexpected surprises:

In the First Legislative District, Senator Michael Testa, Jr., and Assemblymen Antwan McClellan and Erik Simonsen – all Republicans – won reelection handily. In Cumberland County, Republicans swept the County elections, and flipped the County Surrogate, Sheriff and three County Commissioner seats to give the county an all-Republican Board.

In the Second Legislative DistrictRepublican incumbent Senator Vincent Polistina defeated Democratic challenger, Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick. On the Assembly side, Assemblymembers Donald Guardian and Claire Swift both won reelection. Atlantic County Republicans also swept at the county-level, with longtime County Executive Dennis Levinson winning reelection, as well as one County Commissioner seat and the County Sheriff all going red. The Atlantic County Commissioner Board now moves to an 8-1 Republican majority.

In the Third Legislative District, Democrats regained the seats lost in 2021 when Republican Senator Ed Durr won a surprise victory over then-Senate President Steve Sweeney. Former Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli won the Senate seat and his running mates, Gloucester County Commissioner Deputy Director Heather Simmons and David Baily Jr., both won the Assembly seats over incumbent Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick and Hopetown Township Committeeman Thomas Tedesco, Jr. The Third District is where the Democratic Party saw the most pick-ups in New Jersey with all three seats flipping from Republican to Democrat, and the only Senate Democratic flip this cycle.

The Fourth Legislative District was considered one of the most competitive in the state and the Democrats held all three seats. Democratic Incumbent Senator Fred Madden will be retiring at the end of the Session, as will Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. Longtime Fourth District Democratic Assemblyman Paul Moriarty won his bid for the Senate seat against Republican candidate, former Washington Township Councilman Chris Del Borrello. The Democrats running for Assembly, newcomers Dan Hutchison and Cody Miller, were also elected in their race against Republican candidates Amanda Esposito and Matthew Walker.

The Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Legislative Districts all remained unchanged with Democratic incumbents winning: Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez, Assemblyman Bill Moen and Assemblyman Bill Spearman in the Fifth; Senator Jim Beach, Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt in the Sixth; and Senator Troy Singleton, Assemblywoman Carol Murphy and Assemblyman Herb Conaway in the Seventh.

In the Eighth Legislative District, Republican Latham Tiver defeated Democratic candidate, Former Pemberton Councilwoman Gaye Burton in the race for State Senate to succeed Republican Jean Stanfield, who did not seek reelection. As for the two Assembly seats, the Republican incumbents, Assemblyman Michael Torrissi and assemblyman Brandon Umba, defeated the Democratic slate of Andrea Katz and Anthony Angelozzi.

These outcomes makes the balance of power in the South Jersey Legislative Delegation 15 (D) - 9 (R) beginning in January.

Outside of South Jersey in the 11th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Senator Vin Gopal defeated Republican opponent Stephen Dnistrian. Additionally, the two Republican incumbents Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno and Kimberly Euhner lost to the Democratic candidates Margie Donlon and Luanne Peterpaul. The flip of these two Assembly seats added to the Democratic gains in the General Assembly.

In the 16th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Senator Andrew Zwicker defeated former Republican Congressman Mike Pappas. In the Assembly race, incumbent Assemblyman Roy Freiman, and his running mate Mitchelle Drulis won re-election over the Republican candidates Grace Zhang and Ross Traphagen.

In the 38th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Senator Joseph Lagana won re-election, defeating Republican challenger Micheline Attieh. The Democratic incumbents, Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and Assemblyman Chris Tully, defeated the Republican slate of Gail Horton and Barry Wilkes.

Lastly, the biggest surprise of the evening came in the 30th Legislative District. The district, which covers parts of Monmouth and Ocean counties and is widely considered one of the most Republican districts in the state, saw Democratic candidate Avi Schnall defeat Republican incumbent Assemblyman Ned Thomson. This upset marks the fifth Democrat pickup in the General Assembly this cycle.

The newly elected members of the Legislature will be sworn in at the start of the 221st Legislative Session, which begins on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, after which Governor Murphy will deliver his State of the State Address.

 Should you have any questions, please contact Hilary Chebra, Manager of Government Affairs at

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Hilary Chebra

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