Democratic legislative leaders intend to play actively in two 25th district special elections next year.
“I’m going to do whatever we need to do,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said. “I lost a seat. I want to gain one back.”
State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak lost a special election in the first district to Cumberland County Republican Chairman Michael Testa this year, bringing Democrats back down to a 25-member majority in the legislature’s upper chamber.
But the sudden death of State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco in September means New Jersey will have at least one State Senate contest in 2020.
Bucco’s some, State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, took his father’s seat in the upper chamber uncontested, and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn won the younger Bucco’s seat in the lower chamber by a wide margin, though she’ll need to do so again early next year.
Because the deadline to replace him as a candidate had passed, Bucco remained on the ballot for Assembly after he took his father’s seat in the Senate.
State law prohibits lawmakers from simultaneously holding seats in both chambers, so Bucco is declining the Assembly seat.
The district’s Republican County Committee members will convene early next year to pick who will serve the first year of the term Bucco won last month, but the remaining year of the term will come down to a special election next November.
The 25th was competitive in 2019, and Democrats are intending to keep it that way next year, when federal elections are expected to drive turnout up from the off-year lows seen this year.
“I think we had some great candidates in 25 the last time,” Coughlin said. “I think they were worthy of getting elected. I don’t think anything’s going to change, and I think that I’ll want to see them get elected again when they have the opportunity.”
Republicans selected Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) to replace Bucco in the Assembly until the end of his current term on January 13.
Dunn is the front runner to win another special election convention early next year.
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