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Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River-Vale)

GOP incumbents win in LD39

Schepisi, Auth re-elected

By Nikita Biryukov, November 05 2019 4:57 pm

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and Assemblyman Bob Auth were re-elected Tuesday, defeating challengers Gerald Falotico and John Birkner.

The contest in the 39th was marked by animus more than perhaps any other race in the state.

The two sides sparred over guns, outside money and abortion, with facts at times taking back seat.

Following a League of Women Voters Debate, the Democrats claimed Schepisi was waffling on abortion, claiming she said she was simultaneously pro-life and pro-choice.

Schepisi supports abortion as a right but previously chose not to get one when advised to do so.

Democrats centered their attacks at Auth around the Assemblyman’s stance on gun control.

While Auth has previously opposed some gun control measures, that opposition has not been universal.

Last March, Auth voted yes on bills requiring background checks for all gun purchases, allowing authorities to confiscate firearms in certain cases and permitting residents to file for extreme risk protective orders that prohibit others from possessing a firearm.

The Republicans fielded their own attacks, hitting the Democrats over NJ United, an independent expenditure group formed by aides close to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

Democrats in the district were never expecting to win both seats, but they believed they could oust Auth.

That belief led to a split between Birkner, who is mayor of Westwood, and Falotico, who is Emerson council president, knew that, at best, only one of them would end up in the statehouse.

Despite that, Democrats held a narrow 153-ballot lead in mail-in ballots Tuesday morning.

Republicans still have a voter registration lead in the district, with 48,425 registered Republicans to the district’s 46,138 registered Democrats.

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