The extension of the state budget through September potentially impacts special elections in the Morris County-based 25th district., where State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) are running.
Their votes on a post-coronavirus budget could become an issue that occurs 33 days before the general election.
When budget votes are cast on or before June 30, more than four months pass before legislators must face the voters. And while many New Jerseyans don’t pay much attention to the state budget in the days leading into the July 4 holiday week, you can almost count on greater focus in September when the state and nation deals with the economic impact of COVID-19.
New Jersey might have a more hyper-educated electorate as it relates to legislative candidates this fall.
When the Legislature votes on the state budget, most automatic vote-by-mail ballots will already be out. That means some voters will be reacting in real time to what they learn about the state budget
Here’s a hypothetical example of what could happen: Democrats put millions in the budget to combat algal blooms that shut down Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake last summer. If Bucco and Dunn vote against the budget, they could get tagged with voting against money to battle a health issue in their district.
Bucco won a special election convention in October for the Senate seat of his father, Anthony R. Bucco, who passed away last September. Dunn won Bucco’s vacant Assembly seat.
Democrats are running Rupande Mehta for Senate and Darcy Draeger for Assembly.
Also: don’t expect budget votes on September 27 or 28. It’s unlikely that Senate President Steve Sweeney or Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin will call the legislature into session on Yom Kippur.