Seven Democrats are competing today for the chance to take on Republican incumbents Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) in a district that has become competitive since it was drawn eight years ago.
Right now, it’s a three-woman race between Stacey Gunderman, Jill LaZare and Lisa Mandelblatt for the endorsement of the Union County Democratic organization in a vote that takes place this afternoon.
Each has five solid votes from ten municipal chairs who will cast two votes each at the screening committee meeting.
Mandelblatt appears to be in the best position: she is highly likely to get a sixth vote from New Providence, where Gunderman is the municipal chair. While it’s possible to get six votes and lose, it is unlikely in this particular contest
Gunderman can move to six if Springfield Democratic municipal chair David Barnett votes for her.
LaZare’s path to a win is mathematically challenging.
She appears to have Mountainside, Roselle Park, Springfield and Summit in her corner. To remain in the game, the municipal chairs backing LaZare need to trade votes to stop one of Westfield from backing Gunderman — or Gunderman to cast her New Providence vote for her.
Two other candidates, union leader Carlos Gomez and attorney Goutam Jois, could also receive some support – unless the municipal chairs decide they want to use their votes strategically to help put LaZare over the top.