Democrats Deana Lykins and Dan Smith have entered the race for State Assembly in what is arguably the most Republican legislative district in New Jersey.
They will take on incumbents Parker Space (R-Wantage) and Hal Wirths (R-Wantage) in a district that has 29,761 more Republicans that Democrats. The 24th includes all of Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris.
Lykins is the corporate counsel at Selective Insurance. She was a deputy counsel at the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services and an assistant counsel to the Senate Democrats from 2002 to 2005. Smith is a former municipal court judge.
“On behalf of the Sussex, Warren and Morris County Democratic Organizations, we are proud to have these two individuals stepping up to run for the Assembly in LD 24. They are extremely qualified to lead our district,” said Sussex County Democratic chair Leslie Hahn. “Our counties are in need of strong leadership in Trenton, that will fight for the needs of our residents. Our counties are facing serious challenges regarding job creation, transportation issues, high property taxes and the opioid epidemic. Deana and Dan are committed to tackling these issues.”
Space was re-elected by 13,673 votes in 2017, with Wirths, a former state labor commissioner, defeating Democrat Kate Matteson by 8,366.
The district has not elected a Democrat to the legislature since Robert Shelton unseated Republican incumbent Walter Keough-Dwyer in the 1973 Watergate landslide. Shelton did not seek re-election to a second term.