Click play for audio version of this story
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) has endorsed four Republican incumbents in hotly contested races for the State Assembly in the 2019 mid-term elections.
The state’s largest public employee union also declined to back South Jersey Democrats in their bids for re-election, including competitive races in the 1st and 2nd districts.
NJEA endorsements went to Republicans Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) and his running mate, former Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield in the 8th district, Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) in the 21st, and Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) in the 25th.
The Democratic candidate for the other 25th district seat, Lisa Bhimani, was endorsed for the open seat of retiring Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township).
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin was endorsed for his own 19th district seat.
The endorsement of Bramnick and Munoz came over Democrat Stacey Gunderman, whose husband is an NJEA member.
Endorsements from the NJEA went to Democratic challengers in two Ocean County districts, and to Deana Lykins, who is challenging Parker Space (R-Wantage) and Hal Wirths (R-Wantage) in a Sussex County-based district. The union did not endorse Lykins’ running mate, Dan Smith.
In the Morris-based 26th, the NJEA endorsed incumbent Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) but went for Democrat Christine Clarke in her bid to unseat six-term Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains).
The NJEA also endorsed Westwood Mayor John Birkner, Jr. and Emerson Council President Gerald Falotico in the 39th district against incumbents Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) and Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan).
Four other Democratic incumbents, Joseph Egan (D-New Brunswick), Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark), Shanique Speight (D-Newark), Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City), also failed to win NJEA endorsements.
In the 13th district, the NJEA endorsement went to incumbent Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel), as well as two Democrat Barbara Singer and Republican Gerald Scharfenberger, who are both seeking the open seat of retiring Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Middletown).
The teacher’s union is backing Republican incumbents in districts 12, 30 and 40.