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The New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association has endorsed mostly incumbents for the 2019 State Assembly races, but is supporting Democratic challengers in the 21st district against Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Assembly Minority Whip Nancy Munoz (R-Summit).
“As the leader of his caucus it is a shame that Assemblyman Jon Bramnick has entirely disengaged with the men and women that serve on the front line of defense of New Jersey’s municipalities, and that his running mate has followed his lead,” NJ FMBA President Eddie Donnelly said. “This endorsement of two aggressive and thoughtful challengers should serve as notice that length of service and titles doesn’t equal the support of our members, action does.”
The union has endorsed Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman to replace Bramnick and Munoz, who are fighting for re-election in a district that has increasingly shifted away from Republicans over the last few years.
Five Republican legislators have won NJ FMBA endorsements, including Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) in 8th district, one of the most competitive races of the year. The union endorsed Gina LaPlaca, a former Assembly Democratic staffer, for an open seat against Republican Jean Stanfield, the former Burlington County Sheriff.
Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) won the firefighters endorsement in the hotly-contested 25th district race. The NJ FMBA did not endorse anyone for the open seat of retiring 12-term Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township).
Bucco, a longtime member of the Boonton Volunteer Fire Department, could wind up dropping his re-election bid shortly, if he decides to take the State Senate seat of his late father. State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) died on Monday at age 81.
The firefighters union also endorsed incumbents Hal Wirths (R-Wantage) in the 24th district, and Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) and Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan) in the 39th. The NJ FMBA did not endorse Wirth’s running mate, Parker Space (R-Wantage), or either of the Democratic challengers.
The NJ FMBA endorsed State Sen. Robert Andrzejczak (D-Middle) in the 1st district special election in New Jersey’s only 2019 State Senate contest, along with Assemblymen Bruce Land (D-Vineland) and Matthew Milam (D-Vineland).
In the 38th district, incumbents Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn) and Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield), won endorsements from the firefighters union.
“The incumbents we endorsed have shown through their legislative action that they support the issues that matter to the more than 5,000 career firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers that make up the New Jersey State FMBA,” Donnelly said. “For the challengers, we take them at their word that their actions will match the vigor with which they sought our support and have educated them on policies that impact the fire safety of the communities they represent.”
The NJ FMBA is sitting out the 2nd district Assembly race, where incumbents Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and John Armato (D-Buena) are seeking re-election.
The union also made no endorsements in seven districts where Republican legislators are seeking re-election, including the 13th, where there is an open seat following the retirement of Amy Handlin (R-Middletown).
In two other possibly competitive districts, the firefighters union is supporting Democratic incumbents: Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Joann Downey (D-Freehold) in the 11th, and Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) in the 16th.
Former Camden County Freeholder William Moen was endorsed in his 5th district Assembly bid. He is seeking the open seat of retiring Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones (D-Barrington) in one of the state’s most heavily Democratic legislative districts.NJ FMBA Endorsements