The Middlesex County Republican screening committee voted last night to recommend former Montgomery mayor Christine Madrid to the convention as a candidate for State Assembly in the 16th district.
The screening committee also voted to present two other candidates to the convention for the second seat: former Rocky Hill mayor Ed Zimmerman and former Somerset County freeholder Mark Caliguire.
Republicans are seeking challengers to Assemblymen Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough).
Madrid received ten first choice votes and ten second choice votes. Zimmerman received 8 first choice votes and eight second choice, while Caliguire took seven first choice and eight second choice.
A fourth candidate, Forest Locandro, a Delaware township farmer and businessman, received just one first choice vote.
Middlesex County will hold their convention on March 16.
Somerset makes up about 48% of the Republican primary vote in the 16th, with Hunterdon at 43%. Middlesex has about 6% of the Republican primary votes, with Mercer at just 3%.
Hunterdon will hold their convention on March 12, followed by Mercer three days later. The Somerset County Republican convention is scheduled for March 25.
Caliguire is making his third run for office in as many years.
He lost a State Assembly race in 2017, running 3,673 votes behind Freiman for the seat Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough) gave up running for governor. His lost his hometown, Montgomery, where he served as a councilman and mayor, by 438 votes.
Last year, Caliguire lost his bid for re-election to the Somerset County Board of Freeholders. In that race, he lost the 16th district portion of the county by 407 votes and lost Montgomery by 1,267.
Madrid, who served as director of the Division of Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance at the state Department of Labor under Gov. Chris Christie, became mayor last August when Mark Conforti resigned to move to Florida.
She lost her bid for re-election to the township committee three months later by 1,262 votes.
Zimmerman was the first to enter the race. He served as a Rocky Hill councilman from 2004 to 2006 and as mayor from 2007 to 2014. He was the governor’s appointee to the state Council on Local Mandates.
Locandro, 24, is the son of former Delaware Township mayor Roger Locandro. He works at his family-owned tree nursery and plumbing business. A graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Economics, Locandro is seeking his master plumbers license and is a certified geothermal technician and green energy technician. He is also a volunteer firefighter.
The 16th is one of two in the State that elected a Republican senator and two Democratic assemblymen in 2017.
The district has 14,599 more Democrats than Republicans – up considerably from the 5,275 Democratic edge when the 16th was drawn in 2011.
Zwicker unseated assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-Readington) by just 78 votes in 2015. He was the first Democratic assemblyman from that district since James Bowers (D-Somerville) lost his bid for a third term to Fred Pope (R-Bridgewater) in 1934.