Home>Highlight>Just districts have had less senators than the 37th

State Sen. Matthew Feldman (D-Teaneck) in 1966. Ace Alagna collection courtesy of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, Seton Hall University Libraries, South Orange.

Just districts have had less senators than the 37th

Weinberg retirement will trigger election of just 4th senator in 48 years

By David Wildstein, June 08 2021 9:53 am

The winner of today’s 37th district Democratic primary will become just the fourth senator since New Jersey adopted a plan to create 40 legislative districts before the 1973 election.

The first winner of the 37th was Matthew Feldman, a former Teaneck mayor who had served in the Senate in 1966 and 1967.  He defeated two term incumbent Joseph Woodcock (R-Cliffside Park) in the 1973 Watergate-related Democratic wave.

Feldman later served as Senate President and spent 20 years in the upper house before his retirement in 1993.  He was succeeded by Byron Baer, a 22-year assemblyman from Englewood.  Baer resigned for health reasons in 2005 and was succeeded by Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).  Weinberg, now the Senate Majority Leader, is retiring after five terms.

Just two legislative districts have had less senators than the 37th.

The South Jersey-based 3rd district has only elected two men to the Senate: Raymond Zane (R-Woodbury) won the seat in 1973 and held it for 28 years until now-Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) narrowly unseated him in 2001.  Zane had spent most of his tenure as a Democrat, switching parties to avoid a primary with Sweeney 20 years ago.

In what is now the 27th district, former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) has served in the Senate for nearly 40 years.  Codey was first elected to the Assembly in 1973, at age 26, and moved up to the Senate in 1981 after the district’s first Senator, Frank “Pat” Dodd (D-West Orange), gave up his seat to run for governor.

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