Rick Carabelli has dropped his bid for the Democratic State Assembly nomination in the 14th district after losing the Middlesex County Democratic convention by four votes, clearing the field for Tennille McCoy in the June primary election.
“Deciding to withdraw is not an easy decision, but it’s the right decision. I have served the Democratic party in various capacities for the last five decades and as I always have, will continue to put our party first,” Carabelli said. “Despite garnering the highest vote total at the Mercer Democratic Convention, my loss at the Middlesex Democratic Convention leads me to believe it is time to end my candidacy rather than run against the party.”
Carabelli was the top vote-getter at the March 5 Mercer County Democratic convention with 120 votes, with McCoy edging out eight-term incumbent Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) by five votes, 111 to 106.
But all three candidates would be on the line in June under Mercer County’s party by-laws, which permits any candidate who hits the 40% mark at a convention to run in the organization column in the primary.
That made Wednesday night’s Democratic convention in Middlesex a must-win for each of the three candidates.
DeAngelo rebounded and finished first with 58 votes, followed by 45 for McCoy and 41 for Carabelli.
With the line in Middlesex, which makes up 39% of the Democrats in the 14th district, and a shared line in Mercer, DeAngelo, and McCoy became the front-runners for the nomination.
The open seat was created by Dan Benson’s decision to run for Mercer County Executive.
McCoy, a former assistant commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, lost races for the Hamilton Township Council in 2011 and 2013 and ran briefly for Mercer County Commissioner in 2021 but dropped out before the primary. Carabelli, part of a prominent Hamilton political family, is a political newcomer who has been Franklin Township’s municipal tax assessor since 2009.
When the two counties are combined, DeAngelo received the most votes (164), followed by Carabelli (161) and McCoy (156).
“I look forward to continuing to promote the values of Democratic party to win elections up and down the ballot in Hamilton and across our great county,” Carabelli said in a letter that praised Mercer County Democratic Chair Janice Mironov for her leadership.