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State Sen. Andrew Zwicker. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Zwicker claims victory in Senate race

Democrat has 2,360 vote lead against former Congressman Michael Pappas

By David Wildstein, November 03 2021 5:48 pm

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) has claimed victory in the 16th district State Senate race where an indeterminate number of votes remain uncounted.

Zwicker currently leads Republican Michael Pappas, a former congressman, by 2,360 votes.    Pappas had a 2,260-vote lead on Tuesday night.

“This was a difficult election year, but I could not be more proud of the campaign that my running mates, Assemblyman Roy Freiman and Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, and I have run,” Zwicker said.  “Our campaign focused on the issues affecting the people of the Sixteenth Legislative District and our dedication to serving our neighbors and communities.”

Zwicker is no stranger to close elections.  When he unseated Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-Readington) in 2015, he won by 78 votes.

If Zwicker’s 51.6%-48.4% lead holds, it would mean a flip of a Republican Senate seat.  The incumbent, Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg), did not seek re-election after 14 years in the Senate and 28 years in the legislature.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to all of the volunteers, supporters, and staff who worked tirelessly across every corner of the district,” said Zwicker.  “I am honored that the voters have chosen me to serve them as our first Democratic Senator.”

The contest for two State Assembly seats remain too close too close.

Two-term Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) has moved into first place with 36,474 votes.  His running mate, former Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer (35.088) is 35 votes in front of   Republican Vincent Panico (35,053), the president of the Hunterdon Central Regional Board of Education.  Manville Councilman Joseph Lukac (34,407) is 646 votes behind his GOP ticket mate.

“The 16th District is proving to be the dead heat we’ve known it to be for months,” said Dan Scharfenberger, the executive director of the Senate Republican campaign committee.  “The Pappas campaign is focused on making sure all legal votes are counted and Andrew Zwicker should do the same.”

Final 16th district results:

Zwicker 53.3% // Pappas 46.7%

Freiman 26.7%, Jaffer 25.7% // Panico 24.0%, Lukac 23.6%

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