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Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson. (Photo: Assembly Majority Office).

Reynolds-Jackson, Verrelli in 15th district

Incumbents defeat former Trenton city councilman in Democratic primary

By David Wildstein, June 04 2019 8:01 pm

The New Jersey Globe is calling the Democratic primary for State Assembly in the 15th district for incumbents Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Hopewell).

They have defeated their primary opponent, former Trenton Councilman Alex Bethea.

Reynolds-Jackson and Verrelli will face Trenton Republican Municipal Chair Jennifer Williams in the general election.

No other Republican filed for Assembly and it is not immediately clear if any GOP candidate mounted a write-in campaign for the second seat.

Both incumbents entered the legislature last year after winning special election conventions to fill vacant seats.

Jackson-Reynolds won a special election convention last February to replace Elizabeth Muoio (D-Pennington), who became Gov. Phil Murphy’s State Treasurer.

After Reed Gusciora was elected mayor of Trenton in July, Verrelli defeated former Senate Majority executive director Jeff Laurenti by five votes at a special election convention.

Jackson-Reynolds won a November special election, defeating Republican Tracy Sinatra by 31,233 votes (72%-26%).  Verrelli defeated Justin Tibbetts by 31,174 votes (72%-25%).

A retired elementary school principal, Bethea spent eight years as a councilman before giving up his seat to run for mayor last year.  He finished sixth in a field of seven candidates with just 6% of the vote.

After Reed Gusciora won the mayoral race, Bethea ran as an independent in the special election to fill Gusciora’s Assembly seat.  He won 3%, finishing more 46,360 votes behind Verrelli and 15,186 votes behind Republican Justin Tibbetts.  In Trenton, Bethea received just 6%.

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