Patricia Badovinac and Maria Concepcion-Powell filed petitions to challenge Assemblymen Joseph Egan and Joe Danielsen Monday.
Powell ran for president of Mexico in 2018, one of 40 independent candidates in the race.
The National Electoral Institute, which runs elections in Mexico, certifies anyone who expresses an interest in running as an official candidate. Residency is not a requirement and Concepcion Powell was eligible to run because she was born in Mexico, according to the NEI website.
Getting on the ballot is a lot tougher: candidates need more than 850,000 signatures.
Concepcion-Powell, who ran as Maria Concepcion Ibarra Tiznado, was a certified presidential candidate but her name did not appear on the ballot. It is not immediately clear how many votes she received in her challenge to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
In 2013, Concepcion-Powell was a candidate for mayor of San Bernardino, California but was removed from the ballot after not paying her $4,092 filing fee. She told the San Bernardino Sun that she lost her money when her laptop computer containing her bank account password was stolen from her car at a local gasoline station.
Election officials gave her time to come up with the money – including some extensions, At one point, her representative showed up at the county election office after the deadline and said she had lost the check.
She ran as a write-in candidate and received just a handful of votes.
Concepcion-Powell grew up in San Bernardino and moved to live near her son in New after the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015.
Badovinac unsuccessfully ran for Piscataway Town Council in 2014.
The 17th legislative district is considered a lock for Democrats. Republicans haven’t won an election there since the state adopted the 40-district map in 1973.
The only time the GOP has held a seat in the district was when former Assemblywoman Angela Perun switched her party affiliation after Middlesex County Democrats dropped her from the party line and replaced her with now-State Sen. Bob Smith, who was then Piscataway mayor.