Results of the 2007 New Jersey General Elections
On Tuesday, November 6, 2007, New Jersey voters went to the polls to select all 120 seats in the Legislature.
Yesterday’s general election altered the current make-up (50-30) of the State Assembly and the Senate (22-18). The Democrats retain control of both houses. The new make-up of the Assembly will be 48-32 and the Senate will be 23-17. After a lame duck session which begins on November 8, 2007, the new members of the Legislature will be sworn in on January 8, 2008.
Efforts to resolve leadership in both houses will take place this week. Strong signals are that Senate President Dick Codey (D) will remain in his current leadership role with Joe Vitale, Paul Sarlo and Steve Sweeney vying for majority leader and budget committee chairman respectively in the upcoming Senate leadership election. Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R) is reportedly going to forgo his leadership role in favor of Senator Tom Kean, Jr. (R) with Lance potentially to take over as the ranking Republican member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts (D) will retain his Speakership, backed up by current Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman. Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R) is expected to retain his Assembly Minority Leader position. We will keep you apprised as to the final decisions on leadership.
With a few notable exceptions, all incumbent legislators defeated their general election challengers. The following is a breakdown of the election results from the targeted districts – which are usually the most publicized, contentious and expensive campaigns in the State:
District 1 (Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) – This split district has now gone to the Democrats with the election of incumbent Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D), who defeated incumbent Senator Nick Asselta (R) for the Senate seat by a 56-44 percent margin. Van Drew’s running-mates incumbent Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam who is president of a family trucking company, located in Vineland defeated their Republican challengers Norris Clark and Michael Donohue.
District 2 (Atlantic) – In one of the State’s most contentious races, Republican incumbent Sonny McCullough lost his Senate seat to Assemblyman Jim Whelan (D). Whelan won this race by a margin of 57 to 43 over McCullough. He is a former Atlantic City Mayor. The Democrats failed to take either Assembly seat with Republicans Vince Polistina and John Amodeo winning against Democrats Blondell Spellman and Joe Wilkins. Polistina is an engineer and Amodeo, former Linwood City Councilman is also a former licensed crane operator and lead engineer.
District 8 (Burlington) – Republican challenger Phil Haines defeated incumbent Assemblyman Fran Bodine (D), who lost the race for the Senate seat vacated by Martha Bark. Haines took 61 percent of the vote compared to 39 for Bodine. Republicans Scott Rudder and Dawn Addiego defeated their Democratic challengers for the Assembly seats in this district. Bodine had switched parties in the spring of last year. Haines has been Burlington County Clerk since 2000, while Addiego is a Burlington County Freeholder and Rudder is the Medford Mayor and former State Treasury official.
District 11 (Monmouth) – Incumbent Sean Kean (R) defeated Democratic challenger and former Assemblyman John Villapiano by a 63 to 37 percent margin. The Republicans also retained both Assembly seats to be held by newcomers David Rible and Mary Pat Angelini. Angelini is Executive Director of Prevention First, an agency that combats violence and drug use in school and Rible is a former Wall Township Police officer who now owns a locksmith business.
District 12 (Monmouth/Mercer) – In the most expensive race in New Jersey this year, Democratic incumbent Senator Ellen Karcher lost to Republican challenger Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck (R) for the Senate seat in this district by 54 to 46 percentage points. Incumbent Assemblyman Michael Panter (D) narrowly lost his seat by under 600 votes to the Republican challengers Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande. O’Scanlon owns his own telecommunications consulting business and is Council President in Little Silver. Casagrande is an attorney in private practice in Neptune who serves as Township attorney in Manalapan.
District 14 (Mercer/Middlesex) – Incumbent Bill Baroni (R) handily took the Senate seat held by retiring Pete Inverso in a race against Seema Singh, the former Ratepayer Advocate by a 63 to 37 percent split. Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein narrowly retained her seat to continue the split in this district. Greenstein’s running-mate, labor leader and Hamilton Council member Wayne DeAngelo (D) took the remaining Assembly seat. DeAngelo is an official with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Trenton and a former Hamilton Council President. One of the Republicans, Hamilton Councilman Tom Goodwin only lost to DeAngelo by almost 520 votes.
District 4 (Camden/Gloucester) – Incumbent Assemblyman David Mayer (D) decided not to run and his seat will be taken by Democrat Sandra Love. Love is the former Gloucester Township Mayor. Washington Township Mayor Paul Moriarty (D) retained his seat.
District 5 (Camden/Gloucester) – Dana Redd (D) handily won the Senate seat in this district vacated by Wayne Bryant. Redd is a Camden Councilwoman.
District 9 (Atlantic/Ocean/Burlington) – Incumbent Assemblyman Chris Connors (R ) easily defeated his Democratic challenger to retain the Senate seat now held by his father, Len Connors, who is retiring. The Republicans retained the Assembly seats held by Brian Rumpf and newcomer Daniel VanPelt, the Ocean Township Mayor.
District16 (Morris/Somerset) – Incumbent Assemblyman Kip Bateman (R) ascended to the Senate seat vacated by retiring Walt Kavanaugh. Assemblyman Pete Biondi will be joined in the Assembly by Denise Coyle (R). Coyle is on the Somerset County Freeholder Board and former Township Committeewoman and Mayor in Branchburg.
District 24 (Hunterdon/Morris/Sussex) – Steven Oroho (R) won the election for Senate to replace Bob Littell, who decided not to seek re-election after 40 years in the Legislature. Oroho is a Sussex County Freeholder and a certified financial planner with Stonebridge Capital Management. Incumbent Alison Littell McHose (R) and her running-mate Gary Chiusano (R) defeated their Democratic challengers. Chiusano is a Sussex County Freeholder, Mayor of Frankford Township and vice president of financial services and a trust officer for a local banking institution.
District 26 (Morris/Passaic) – Republican incumbent Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio won the Senate seat vacated by Bob Martin. Alex DeCroce will continue to hold his seat in the Assembly, and will be joined by Jay Webber (R). Webber practices labor and employment law in Florham Park and was a Chief of Staff to former Congressman Bill Martini.
District 27 (Essex) – Democrat Mila Jasey will go to Trenton to replace Assemblyman Mims Hackett, who resigned last month. Jasey is a retired nurse and school board member of the South Orange-Maplewood school district. She will join Senate President Dick Codey and Assemblyman John McKeon in representing this district.
District 28 (Essex) – Senator Ron Rice defeated his challenger and will be joined in the Assembly by Cleopatra Tucker and Ralph Caputo. Tucker is the widow of the late Assemblyman Donald Tucker and Caputo is an Essex County Freeholder. Tucker and Caputo ran on a ticket backed by Newark Mayor Cory Booker. They won the nominations over incumbent Assembly Democrats Craig Stanley and Oadline Truitt.
District 29 (Essex/Union) – Democrat Teresa Ruiz defeated Assemblyman Bill Payne and Newark City Councilman Luis Quintana who ran as an Independent in this race. Ruiz will occupy the Senate seat held by Sharpe James, who decided not to run for re-election. Ruiz is the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Essex County Executive and Director of Public Information for Essex County. She will be joined by Grace Spencer and Alberto Coutinho, who took seats previously occupied by Assemblymen Bill Payne and Fred Caraballo. Spencer is an attorney with a Roseland law firm and a former Newark Assistant Corporation Counsel, and Coutinho, a former Assemblyman is a partner in an international business and consulting company and leader in the Portuguese-American community.
District 31 (Hudson) – Sandra Cunningham (D), will serve in the Senate seat previously occupied by Joe Doria (D), who now serves as Community Affairs Commissioner. Former Assemblyman, Bayonne Councilman and photographer Anthony Chiappone (D) and his running mate Harvey Smith took seat held by retiring Lou Manzo (D). Smith is a Jersey City Councilman, former teacher and Acting Mayor of Jersey City and State Senator following the death of Mayor and Senator Glenn Cunningham.
District 33 (Hudson) – Assemblyman Brian Stack (D) moves up to the Senate seat previously held by Bernie Kenny. Stack will be joined by Ruben Ramos (D) and Cari Rodriguez (D) in the Assembly. Ramos is a Hoboken Councilman and Rodriguez, an aide to Congressman Albio Sires and former West New York Town Commissioner.
District 35 (Passaic/Bergen) – Incumbent Nellie Pou (D) and her running-mate Elease Evans (D) defeated their Republican challengers. Al Steele, who previously held the seat, resigned from the Assembly in October. Evans is the Passaic County Freeholder Director and former Director of Passaic County Social Services.
District 38 (Bergen) – Incumbent Assemblyman Bob Gordon (D) will move up to the Senate. He and his running-mates Joan Voss (D) and Concetta Wagner defeated their Republican challengers. Wagner is a Bergen County Freeholder and Paramus Councilwoman. Gordon replaces Senator Joe Coniglio, who declined to run in this election.
District 39 (Bergen) Republican incumbent Senator Gerry Cardinale (R) will retain his Senate seat against a formidable challenge by the Democrat and attorney Joseph Ariyan in a 55 to 45 split. Republicans Charlotte Vandervalk and John Rooney retained their Assembly seats.
District 40 (Bergen) – Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole will ascend to the Senate to serve this district in the seat vacated by retiring State Senator Henry McNamara. He defeated his challenger John Zunic. O’Toole will be joined by incumbent David Russo (R) and newcomer Scott Rumana (R) in the Assembly. Rumana is the mayor of Wayne.
There were four (4) ballot questions under consideration by the voters in 2007, with somewhat surprising results:
1. The constitutional dedication of 1% of the sales tax to property tax relief was defeated by a 53 to 47 margin.
2. The issuance of $450 million in bonds to fund stem cell research projects was defeated by a 53 to 47 vote.
3. The issuance of $200 million in bonds for green acres, farmland, blue acres and historic preservation passed by a 54 to 46 margin.
4. A proposed constitutional amendment to revising the current constitutional language concerning the denial of the right to vote by deleting the phrase “idiot or insane person” and providing instead that a “person who has been adjucated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting” shall not enjoy sufferage was adopted by a 60 to 40 outcome.
Additional information regarding the candidates and the districts can be accessed on the Eagleton Institute of Politics website.