Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City) said today that he will run for the Senate in the 32nd district come 2023, an announcement that was immediately followed by endorsements from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City), and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.
“The goal of securing a brighter tomorrow for my toddler son, Leo, and infant daughter, Liana, has strengthened my resolve to keep fighting for our state,” Mukherji said in a statement. “So I’m humbly asking the people of Jersey City and Hoboken to return me to the legislature, this time in the Senate.”
Mukherji, a Marine Corps veteran and former Jersey City deputy mayor, was first elected in 2013 in the 33rd district, which is currently represented by Stack in the Senate. At only 37, Mukherji is the chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and was considered a potential candidate for Speaker down the line.
But Hudson County’s explosive population growth meant that its legislative districts had to be significantly reshaped for the next decade’s legislative map, and the end result was that Stack’s hometown of Union City was moved into State Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen)’s district, leaving the new 32nd district (which is essentially the successor to the old 33rd) with an open Senate seat.
The district, which is made up entirely of Hoboken and northern Jersey City, has a white plurality but includes the second-largest Asian American population of any district on the new map, at 32%. If Mukherji is elected, he’d likely be one of just two Asian Americans in the Senate, alongside State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch).
And the endorsements from Fulop, Stack, and Bhalla, three of the most important figures in the district, make Mukherji the prohibitive frontrunner in the Democratic primary; the seat is safely Democratic in general elections.
“For the last eight years, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji has been a tenacious fighter for Hudson County,” Stack said. “I proudly endorse him for the State Senate, and we will work day and night for Raj to make sure our neighbors continue to be well represented in the new district.”
Mukherji’s campaign means that he will leave behind a newly open Assembly seat, one which will presumably go to a Jersey City candidate to counterbalance Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hoboken).