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Mercer County Freeholder Anthony Verrelli

Gusciora win creates open Assembly seat

Anthony Verrelli is front runner

By David Wildstein

Democrats will need to pick a replacement for Reed Gusciora when he gives up his State Assembly seat on July 1 to become the new mayor of Trenton.

Sources say that Mercer County Freeholder Anthony Verrelli is the leading candidate for the seat and is expected to have the support of County Executive Brian Hughes.

This will be the second 15th district Assembly seat to open this year.  In February, Trenton City Councilwoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson won the seat vacated by Elizabeth Muoio to become State Treasurer.  Reynolds-Jackson, who will give up her post as Mercer County Democratic chair tomorrow, defeated Verrelli by a vote of 94-77.

Verrelli’s election would increase the political clout of the building trades union in the Legislature.  He is an official with Carpenters Local 254.

If Verrelli gets Gusciora’s Assembly seat, it would force another special election to fill his seat on the Board of Freeholders.

Trenton is makes up about one-third of the district, and accounts for 92 of the 278 county committee seats – if all the seats are filled.  Ewing (56), Lawrence (42), West Windsor (32) and Hopewell Township (24) also have large blocks of votes.  Pennington has six votes and Hopewell has four; the three towns in the Hunterdon County portion of the district – East Amwell, Lambertville and West Amwell – combine for 22 votes.

Both Assembly seats will be on the ballot in November to fill the remaining fourteen months of Muoio and Gusciora’s term.  The district is heavily Democratic.

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