Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) has reserved $21,013 to run cable television ads for his own re-election campaign beginning today and running through September 22.
The ads promote Bramnick alone and not his running mate, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit). The two incumbents, facing a significant general election challenge against Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman, are running as a team and will have both individual and joint voter contact efforts between now and November.
The Bramnick ads will run on CNN, MSNBC, HGTV, the Discovery Channel, ESPN, YES, and the NFL Network.
“As the first legislative candidate running television ads this campaign cycle, it’s clear that Jon Bramnick knows he’s the most vulnerable incumbent in the state,” said Mickey Quinn, a spokesman for the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee.
Democrats could be in a win-win situation. They can defeat Bramnick, who would be the first sitting Assembly Minority Leader to lose re-election in at least 100 years, or they will at least force Bramnick to spend money on his own race and not on protecting Republican seats or gaining seats against potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents.
Republicans are defending incumbents Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) in the 8th district and Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) in the 35th, while trying to hold on to open seats in both of those districts.
The Assembly Republican Victory Committee, the leadership PAC that Bramnick controls, reported just $321,571 cash-on-hand after the first six months of 2019.
The 21st district has trended Democratic in recent years.
After legislative districts were redrawn following the 2010 census, the 21st had 4,357 more Republicans than Democrats. Now the district has 5,021 more Democrats than Republicans, up from 4,796 just one month ago.
In 2017, Munoz was re-elected to a fifth term by 1,554 votes against Democrat Lacey Rzeszowski. Bramnick ran 1,010 votes ahead of Munoz.
In addition to a strong Democratic challenge, Bramnick and Munoz face two conservative independents, former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks and Harry P. Pappas, a former Union County Democratic Chairman in the 1970s who served as a Republican on the Springfield Township Committee in the 1990s.