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Lumberton Mayor Gina LaPlaca.

LaPlaca declines to rule out another Assembly bid

Incoming Lumberton Township committeewoman says she’s not currently planning another run at state office

By Nikita Biryukov, December 09 2020 11:11 am

Lumberton Township Committeewoman-elect Gina LaPlaca said she wasn’t currently planning to mount another bid for Assembly in the eighth legislative district, but she stopped well short of ruling it out.

“I never rule out anything, but it’s certainly not in my game plan for 2021 at this point,” LaPlaca told the New Jersey Globe Wednesday.

The Democrat ran for the district’s Assembly seats alongside Attorney Mark Natale in 2019, though they were defeated by Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), who won former Assemblyman Joe Howarth’s (R-Evesham) seat following a contested primary.

Fresh off a local campaign that saw Democrats flip two seats in Lumberton to win a 5-0 majority on the Township Committee there, LaPlaca said she hadn’t thought much about another bid for state office.

“I’m just so focused on what we have going on here in Lumberton and I’m just so excited for the opportunity we have to put forth a lot of initiatives that we’ve talked about that we couldn’t get done with a 3-2 committee but now we can,” she said.

Democratic leaders view the eighth district — one of only three in the state with split representation — as a key legislative target.

LaPlaca, who is Lumberton’s Democratic municipal chairwoman, finished third last year, running just 1,011 behind Peters, who defeated the Democrat by a single point.

It’s not yet clear how the race for the district’s seat in the upper chamber will affect the contest. State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) intends to run for re-election. It’ll be her first campaign since she defected to the Democratic Party last January.

But LaPlaca said neither the incumbent nor anyone else has so far sought to lobby her on another legislative campaign.

“I certainly haven’t been approached by anybody about it, and I just can’t even imagine it,” LaPlaca said. “I worked so hard to earn the office I just won. I just really want to do that.”

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