Somerset County Democrats endorsed Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger for State Assembly in the 25th district.
Just Bernardsville is the Morris County-based district, but the unanimous vote at tonight’s convention closes the circle by giving Bhimani and Draeger the organization line in both counties for the June primary.
The two Democrats are challenging Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton). The other incumbent, Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township), is giving up his seat after 24 years to run for Morris County Surrogate.
So far, three Republicans are seeking the open seat: Denville councilman Brian Bergen; Aura Dunn, a former district director for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen; and special assistant Morris County Counsel John Barbarula.
While Republicans have held the 25th district seat since 1979, Democrats have made major gains in recent years. Hillary Clinton won the 25th, albeit by just 18 votes, and Democratic congressional candidates combined for a 9,479-vote win on November 6.
There are 8,714 more Republicans in the 25th than Democrats. When the last legislative map was drawn in 2011, the GOP registration edge was almost double: 16,367.
Democrats are expected to make the 25th one of their statewide targets in their bid to expand their Assembly majority.
Morris County Democratic vice chair Lisa Bhimani and Chester Democratic municipal chair Darcy Draeger entered the race last November.
Bhimani held State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) to a 52%-48% margin in 2017. She now taking aim at Bucco’s son.