Home>Campaigns>Essex Democrats back Codey for Senate, awards lines to newcomers Timberlake, Hall, Venezia, Morales and Murray-Thomas

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. with former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) at a DiVincenzo re-election fundraiser in West Orange on March 1, 2022. (Photo: Essex County Democrats).

Essex Democrats back Codey for Senate, awards lines to newcomers Timberlake, Hall, Venezia, Morales and Murray-Thomas

By David Wildstein, March 07 2023 9:00 pm

Essex County Democrats tonight awarded their organization line for State Senate in the 27th district to Richard J. Codey (D-Roseland) over another incumbent placed in the same district during the latest round of legislative apportionment, Nia Gill (D-Montclair).

The move was no surprise; party leaders had telegraphed their intention to support Codey for more than a year.  Gill is mounting an off-the-line bid in the June Democratic primary in a new district that goes from Millburn to Montclair, and then into Clifton in Passaic County.

Codey, who served as Governor of New Jersey from 2004 to 2006, was first elected to the State Assembly in 1973 and moved to the Senate in 1981.  He is currently in his 50th year in the New Jersey Legislature, the longest in state history.

Two veteran assemblymen, Thomas P. Giblin (D-Montclair), and John McKeon (D-West Orange), have party support for re-election in the 27th on the line with Codey.

Democrats picked Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange) to run for State Senate in the new 34th district.  The seat had no incumbent senator.

Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia and Carmen T. Morales, a Belleville resident who is the principal of Newark Tech High School, will run for the State Assembly in the 34th.  The other incumbent, Ralph Caputo (D-Nutley), who served in the Assembly from 1968 to 1972 and again since 2008, is not seeking re-election and is awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination for a seat on the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey board of directors.

In the 28th district, Democrats have picked Garnet Hall, the deputy Essex County Clerk and Maplewood Democratic municipal vice chair, to run for the seat being vacated by Mila Jasey (D-South Orange).  Jasey is retiring after serving in the legislature since 2009.

Hall will run on the line with State Sen. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington) and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark).

The three incumbent lawmakers in the 29th district will be on the line for re-election: Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark), and Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-Newark).

The new delegation, mostly crafted by Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, appears to offer the youngest and most diverse delegation in county history.

Countywide offices

A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, a 27-year-old Newark school board member, has the organization line for Essex County Commissioner in District 2.  The incumbent, Wayne Richardson (D-Newark), will run for the at-large seat currently held by retiring Commissioner Rufus Johnson.

The Democratic organization is backing eight incumbent county commissioners seeking re-election: Pat Sebold (D-Livingston), Brendan Gill (D-Montclair), and Romaine Graham (D-Irvington) for at-large seats; Robert Mercado (D-Newark) in District 1; Tyshammie Cooper (D-East Orange) in District 3; Leonard Luciano (D-West Orange) in District 4; and Carlos Pomares (D-Bloomfield) in District 5.

Sebold is seeking her eleventh term as a county commissioner.  With the retirement of Ocean County Commissioner Joseph Vicari, who has held his seat for 42 years, Sebold would become the second-longest serving county commissioner in the state; Jeff Nash was elected in Camden County two years before Sebold, in 1991.

Democrats will also support Alturrick Kenney of Newark for a second term as the Essex County Surrogate.

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