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Assemblywoman Joann Downey in 2021. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Ex-assemblywoman who lost re-election will get judgeship

Murphy will nominate Joann Downey to Workers’ Compensation Court

By David Wildstein, January 18 2022 6:13 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy will nominate former Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold) to serve as a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Court judge., the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.

Downey lost her bid for re-election to a fourth term last November in the Monmouth County-based 11th legislative district.  Republican Kimberly Eulner (R-Shrewsbury) defeated Downey by 347 votes in an election that took two weeks to determine a winner.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Piperno (R-Colts Neck), who took office with Eulner last week, finished 781 votes ahead of the other Democratic incumbent, Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune).

The 55-year-old Downey served as a deputy state attorney general before her election to the State Assembly in 2015.  She chaired the Assembly Human Services Committee.

Her nomination requires Senate confirmation and signoff from the two Monmouth County senators, Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver).

Downey will become the second Democratic lawmaker who lost re-election in 2021 to get a job from the Murphy administration.  Last week, Murphy nominated former State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) to serve as Burlington County Commissioner of Elections.  Former State Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg), who did not seek re-election after 28 years in Trenton, was named to a seat on the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey board of directors.

Former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who also declined to run again after serving in the legislature since 1992, was appointed to the Horizon board by outgoing Senate President Steve Sweeney.   Former State Sen. Christopher Brown (R-Ventnor), who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election to a second term, resigned from the Senate in the summer to take a Murphy administration post.

In 2015, Houghtaling ran 496 votes ahead of Republican incumbent Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean), while Downey was 253 votes in front of Angelini and polled 488 votes more than incumbent Caroline Casagrande (R-Colts Neck).

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