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Tennille McCoy. (Photo: Tennille McCoy).

Two Democrats file for Benson’s Assembly seat

Tennille McCoy and Rick Carabelli will face off at Mercer Democratic convention in three weeks

By David Wildstein, February 12 2023 4:25 pm

Tennille McCoy and Rick Carabelli will compete for the Mercer County Democratic organization line for an open State Assembly seat in the 14th district at the party’s March 5 county convention.

McCoy, 45, a former assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Carabelli, a small businessman and political newcomer, want to replace Dan Benson (D-Hamilton), who is giving up the Assembly seat he’s held since late 2010 to run for Mercer County Executive.    Both candidates come from Hamilton Township.

“I am moving forward with running for Assembly,” McCoy told the New Jersey Globe.  “I’m focused on the next two weeks.”

The 71-year-old Carabelli has served as the municipal tax assessor in Franklin Township since 2009.  He is the owner of Martin Appraisal Associates, a real estate appraisal company based in Hamilton that, among other services, helps homeowners appeal their property tax assessments.

The field of candidates to replace Benson remain unsettled until last week when Mercer County Commissioner Nina Melker and Hamilton Councilmen Anthony Carabelli, Jr. and Pat Papero turned down an Assembly run.

This would be McCoy’s third bid for public office.  She lost races for the Hamilton Township Council in 2011 and 2013.  She entered the race for Mercer County Commissioner in 2021 but withdrew before the convention.   Since leaving the Murphy administration, she has become the chief human capital officer for a global organization.

The filing deadline to compete at the convention was Friday evening.

State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) is unopposed for re-election.  Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) must still compete for the organization line, but he is considered a lock to win party support for a ninth term.

The 14th district leans Democratic-Republicans haven’t won it since 2007 – but it’s a must-win for the GOP on their narrow path to majorities in the New Jersey Legislature.

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