Home>Highlight>Dems pick Stacey Gunderman, Lisa Mandelblatt to run in 21st

Lisa Mandelblatt

Dems pick Stacey Gunderman, Lisa Mandelblatt to run in 21st

Will challenge Jon Bramnick and Nancy Munoz in increasingly Democratic district

By David Wildstein, February 10 2019 12:05 pm

Union County Democrats are expected to back Stacey Gunderman and Lisa Mandelblatt to challenge incumbents Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) for State Assembly in the 21st district.

Several sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Union County Democratic chairman Nicholas Scutari has settled on the two candidates.

Gunderman is the New Providence Democratic municipal chair and Mandelblatt is an attorney, and teacher from Westfield.

Mandelblatt, who once interned in the office of Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colorado), raised $696,836 — about half of it as a personal loan —  in her bid for the Democratic nomination for Congress in 2018 but withdrew in February to endorse the eventual winner, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill).

The organization line will be awarded at a screening committee this month, but with Union County Democratic chairman Nicholas Scutari settling on Gunderman and Mandelblatt as his preferred candidates, it appears that the two women will run on the organization line.

Morris County Democrats are expected to ratify the choice of Union, but Somerset Democrats won’t award the line until county committee members vote.

In 2017, 75% of the Democratic primary votes in the 21st were cast in Union County.  Somerset had 20% and Morris made up 5%.

Several other Democratic contenders are expected to drop their candidacies, although Gunderman and Mandelblatt could still face a contested Democratic primary.

One of the candidates, Goutam Jois, ran in the Democratic primary for Conrgess last year even after six county organizations endorsed t Malinowski.

Still in the race: union leader and first responder Carlos Gomez; three-time candidate Jill LaZare; former state Division on Women director Ileana Montes, and progressive activist Kyla Rodger.

Attorney Scott Salmon, a political ally of Gunderman and Mandelblatt, had been interested in the seat but is now expected to withdraw his interest.

The 21st district now has 3,607 more Democrats than Republicans, a significant shift since legislative redistricting eight years ago.  In 2011, the 21st had 4,357 more Republicans than Democrats.

Munoz was re-elected by just 1,554 votes in 2017, down from 16,185 in 2013 and 20,667 in 2009.

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