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Democratic congressional candidate Zina Spezakis

Spezakis intends to run for Congress in 2022, court filings say

By Nikita Biryukov, May 25 2021 2:32 pm

Green energy investor Zina Spezakis intends to run for Congress again in 2022, she said in court documents filed as part of a suit to reform New Jersey’s ballot system.

Spezakis sought the Democratic nomination in the ninth congressional district last year in a bid to oust Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson).

An amended complaint in a suit to eliminate organizational lines filed in January said “she intends to run again for the same congressional seat in connection with New Jersey’s June 7, 2022 Democratic Primary Election.” A separate filing submitted Monday repeats Spezakis’ intent to run for Congress next year.

Spezakis fared poorly in the heavily Democratic district last year, winning just under 17% of the vote to Pascrell’s roughly 81%. The incumbent won the primary by nearly than 40,000 votes.

Last year’s races were held almost entirely through mail-in ballots. Passaic County’s mail-in ballots did not have an organizational line. Pascrell won the county 85%-12%, a margin of 18,558 votes.

It’s not clear how a rematch would look if the suit successfully eliminates organizational lines and a set of ballot rules unique to New Jersey that progressives say heavily favor Democrats.

Pascrell would likely be more vulnerable under such a system, though the 24-year incumbent would still hold a fundraising edge. He’d also still have the support of Democratic county organizations in his district. That support comes with a get-out-the-vote operation.

It’s also unclear what the ninth district will look like after this year’s reapportionment.

The ninth is safely Democratic, but it abuts the politically competitive fifth and 11th districts. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) likely wouldn’t mind picking up some solidly Democratic towns that Pascrell currently represents while shedding redder portions of their own districts.

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