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Legislative Updates

CCSNJ Election 2021 Recap

219th Legislative Session Legislative Updates

On November 2, New Jersey held elections for all 120 seats in the New Jersey Legislature, as well as for Governor, resulting in unexpected outcomes across the state, with many results too close to call on election night.

The Gubernatorial race proved much closer than predicted with no clear winner on election night. However, incumbent Governor Phil Murphy claimed victory on Wednesday making him the first Democratic governor since 1977 to win a second term. Republican Jack Ciattarelli has not yet conceded calling the Governor’s victory speech premature. The Ciattarelli campaign announced Thursday night that it will wait to see the results once all votes are counted in the 21 counties before deciding on whether or not a recount or audit is needed.

Across the state various legislative races produced flipped districts from Democrat to Republican control, the most shocking taking place in the Third Legislative District, where Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro lost to Republican candidates Beth Sawyer and Patrick McCarthy. In the Senate race, Senate President Steve Sweeney is trailing in the vote count to Republican Edward Durr, who has been declared the winner. However, the Senate President has yet to concede and is taking a similar approach as Ciattarelli awaiting the results of vote-by-mail ballots.

Some of the state's most competitive races took place in South Jersey in the Second Legislative District, which encompasses most of Atlantic County and the Eighth Legislative District, which encompasses parts of Atlantic, Burlington and Camden Counties.

In the Second Legislative District, Republican Vince Polistina defeated Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo in the race for State Senate to succeed Senator Chris Brown, who did not seek reelection. The Democratic ticket, which also included incumbent Assemblyman John Armato and Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick, was defeated by the Republican candidates former Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and former Deputy Attorney General Claire Swift.

In the Eighth Legislative District, Republican Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield beat incumbent Senator Dawn Addiego for State Senate. As for the two Assembly seats, the Republican candidates, Hammonton Councilman Michael Torrissi and Acting Manchester Township Administrator Brandon Umba, defeated the Democratic slate of Mark Natale and Allison Eckel.

Outside of South Jersey in the 11th Legislative District, the race between incumbent Senator Vin Gopal and Republican opponent Lori Annetti was too close to call on election night. However, with most of the final votes counted Senator Gopal has been declared the winner. The two Assembly Democratic incumbents Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling lost to Republicans Marilyn Piperno and Kimberly Euhner.

In the 16th Legislative District, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker defeated former Republican Congressman Mike Pappas. The seat was held by former Republican Senator Chris “Kip’’ Bateman, who chose not to run for reelection. In the Assembly race, incumbent Assemblyman and head of the Assembly Business Caucus, Roy Freiman has won reelection, and his running mate Sadaf Jaffer leads with a slim margin over the Republican candidates Vincent Panico and Joseph Lukac.

The newly elected members will be sworn in at the start of the 220th Legislative Session, which begins on January 11, 2022.

In the new session, the Assembly Democratic Caucus has reelected Assemblyman Craig Coughlin to a third term as Assembly Speaker. Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald was also reelected to serve in this leadership position for a third term and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano was reelected to a second term as Majority Conference Leader. Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly was selected to serve as the new Speaker Pro-Tempore, replacing Gordon Johnson, who was elected to the State Senate.

In the Assembly Republican Caucus, Assemblyman John DiMaio was elected to be the new Assembly Minority Leader replacing Jon Bramnick, who was elected to the State Senate. Assemblyman Ned Thomson will be the Republican Conference Leader and Assemblyman Antwan McClellan was selected to serve a Minority Whip.

The Senate Republican Caucus elected Senator Steve Oroho to serve as Senate Minority Leader and Senator Kristin Corrado was chosen as Republican Conference Leader. Senator Declan O’Scanlon will serve as the new budget officer, a position previously held by Senator Oroho.

The Senate Democratic Caucus has postponed their leadership vote for the time being and are awaiting resolution in the outstanding Senate races.

On the local level, in the City of Camden incumbent Mayor Vic Carstarphen won his first full-term in office, defeating independent candidates Theo Spencer and Jennifer Huse.

In the Atlantic City Mayoral race, incumbent Mayor Marty Small, Sr. won defeating Republican candidate Tom Forkin.

Additionally, there were two ballot questions that would make changes to the State Constitution's rules regarding gambling. Voters voted down question one asking voters to approve the expansion of sports betting to allow wagering on games involving New Jersey college teams, as well as to bet on college sporting events taking place in New Jersey. However, voters approved the second question, which allows nonprofit groups that conduct games of chance as bingo or raffles to use the proceeds for their own operations.

Join the CCSNJ to hear top political operatives from both political parties, including Jack Ciattarelli’s top political consultant, deconstruct this week's unpredictable election results on Friday, November 19 at 8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. at Woodcrest Country Club, Cherry Hill. Click here to register

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

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