Republicans won enough write-in votes to nominate legislative candidates in 36th district, election officials said on Thursday.
Chris Auriemma, a U.S. Army combat veteran and firefighter, has dropped out of the State Senate primary race in April after his nominating petitions appeared to be fatally flawed.
As a write-in candidate, Auriemma defeated John Grande, a former pizzeria owner and Rutherford mayoral candidate, by a vote of 116-24, 83%-17%.
Candidates need a minimum of 100 write-in votes – identical to the number of signatures required to get on the primary ballot – to win a primary.
Auriemma will now face Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) in the general election.
Craig Auriemma and Joseph Viso also received enough write-in votes to capture the GOP nomination for State Assembly. They will take on Assemblymen Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) and Clinton Calabrese (D-Cliffside Park).
Democrats have asked Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to launch a criminal investigation into nominating petitions filed by Chris and Craig Auriemma, alleging that they may have “engaged in election fraud.”