If Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) leaves the Assembly in January to take Jeff Van Drew’s Senate seat, as expected, it will open the chairmanship of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
The selection of a new chairman will be up to Speaker Craig Coughlin.
The leading candidate to replace Andrzejczak is Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune), the current vice chairman.
The Agriculture chairmanship has been in South Jersey for years.
Andrzejczak’s running mate, Nelson Albano (D-Vineland) was the committee chairman until his defeat in 2013. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto gave Andrzejczak the chairmanship in January 2014.
Albano got the chairmanship in 2009 when Douglas Fisher was named New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture. Fisher became chairman after Robert Smith (D-Washington Township) declined to seek re-election to the Assembly in 2005. Smith had been chairman since 2002, when Democrats won control of the Assembly.
Houghtaling is expected to seek a third term in the Assembly next year. A former Mayor of Neptune Township, he was elected in 2015 when he and Joann Downey ousted two Republican incumbents. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 400.