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Assemblymembers-elect Claire Swift and Don Guardian. (Photo: Claire Swift & Don Guardian for Assembly via Facebook).

Republicans likely to pick up 8 Assembly seats

Six Democratic incumbents lose re-election bids

By David Wildstein, November 03 2021 6:24 am

Republicans are projected to pick up eight seats in the New Jersey General Assembly, reducing the Democratic majority to 44-36.

Seven Democratic incumbents appear to have lost re-election, including John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro), a ten-term assemblyman and Senate President Steve Sweeney’s running mate.

Burzichelli and Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich) appear to have lost to Republicans Beth Sawyer and Bethanne McCarthy Patrick.  Sawyer has 32,283 votes and Patrick is at 32,119.  Burzichelli trails with 29,608, followed by Taliaferro with 29,163.

Republicans flipped two Assembly seats in the Atlantic County-based 2nd district.

Former Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and former deputy state attorney general Claire Swift ousted two-term Assemblyman John Armato (D-Buena) by more than 7,000 votes.  Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick, seeking an open seat, finished fourth.

In the Monmouth-based 11th district, Republicans Marilyn Piperno and Kimberly Eulner unseated three-term Democratic incumbents Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Joann Downey (D-Freehold).

In Central Jersey’s 16th district, which includes parts of Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Mercer counties, two Republicans — Manville Councilman Joe Lukac and Hunterdon Central Regional Board of Education President Vincent Panico — lead in their bid for two Assembly seats.

Lukac, an IBEW member and U.S. Army veteran, leads with 27,126 votes, with Panico in second place with 27,126.  Two-term Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) trails with 22,513.  Former Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer is running fourth with 21,092.

Republicans also held two hotly-contested open seats in the 8th district vacated by Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), who appears to have won a State Senate seat, and Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport), who did not seek re-election.

They will be succeeded by Hammonton Councilman Michael Torrissi, Jr. and acting Manchester Township Administrator Brandon Umba.

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