Alixon Collazos-Gill, who entered the race for a State Assembly seat on Saturday after nine-term incumbent Thomas P. Giblin announced he would not see re-election, filed nominating petitions today with 514 signatures.
A former aide to Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Englewood), Collazos-Gill tested her hometown strength by getting most of her signatures in Montclair, one of the top mid-size Democratic strongholds in the state. Her late entry into the Assembly race relied on the ability of the Montclair Democratic organization to act quickly.
Essex Democrats quickly rallied behind Collazos-Gill, who was born in Colombia and emigrated to the United States at age 14. Her candidacy ends criticism that the all-male, all-Irish 27th district slate lacked diversity. LeRoy Jones and the Democratic municipal chairs in the district picked Collazos-Gill just hours after Giblin made his final decision.
Collazos-Gill will join her husband, Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill, on the ticket this year. Gill is seeking his fourth term.
The petitions also outpaced those from another Montclair resident seeking an Assembly seat, former school board member Eve Robinson. Robinson has been in the race for several weeks – she is running on a slate allied with State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) – but filed with 213 signatures, 59% less than Collazos-Gill.
Her last-minute candidacy boosted the total numbers for her running mate, 11-term Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange), since she added his name to her petitions. That brought McKeon to 1,023. McKeon and Collazos-Gill are running on the Essex County Democratic organization line with Richard J. Codey (D-Roseland), a former governor and a state senator since 1982.