Democratic Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) has won re-election to a third term in Central Jersey’s 16th district and his running mate for an open seat, former Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, is the likely winner of the second seat.
Jaffer, who trailed on election night and was ahead by less than 300 votes on Thursday, has now opened up an 801-vote lead against Republican Vinny Panico, a former president of the Central Hunterdon Regional Board of Education.
By Friday evening, Freiman was at 37,635 votes, followed by Jaffer (36,215), Panico (35,414), and Republican Joe Lukac (34,770), a Manville councilman.
“I am proud of our positive campaign, advocating for transparency and compassionate values,” said Freiman. “I am honored to have earned another term serving the 16th district and look forward to continuing the work to improve quality of life in New Jersey.”
Jaffer will be one of the first two South Asian woman and one of the first two Muslims to serve in the New Jersey when she and Assemblywoman-elect Shaima Haider (D-Tenafly) take office in January
“My election to the General Assembly brings us closer to having a state legislature that reflects the diversity of our state, and I hope this inspires people from diverse backgrounds to get more involved in public service,” Jaffer said.
Jaffer will take the seat of Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick), who was elected to the State Senate on Tuesday.
Zwicker, who won his first Assembly race in 2015 by 78 votes, wound up winning by a large margin despite finishing Tuesday night behind. He defeated Republican Michael Pappas, a former congressman, by 3,973 votes, 53%-47%.
Final 16th district results:
Zwicker 53.3% // Pappas 46.7%
Freiman 26.7%, Jaffer 25.7% // Panico 24.0%, Lukac 23.6%