Carl Benedetti, Jr., 28, a three-term member of the Ewing Board of Education, will seek the State Assembly seat of Reed Gusciora, who is leaving office in five days to become the mayor of Trenton.
“Let’s begin the next generation of leadership,” Benedetti said in a post on social media.
The front-runner for the seat is Mercer County Freeholder Anthony Verrelli, an official with Carpenters Local 254 who lost an Assembly seat earlier this year by 17 votes. He is expected to have the backing of Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes.
Benedetti already has one Trenton official who appears favorable toward him.
“Great news for District 15,” Trenton city councilwoman-elect Robin Vaughn wrote on Benedetti’s Facebook page. “We in Trenton’s West Ward will look forward to working with you.”
Democrats will hold a special election convention in July to pick a replacement for Gusciora. This will be the second 15th district Assembly seat to open this year. In February, Trenton City Councilwoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson won the seat vacated by Elizabeth Muoio to become State Treasurer. Reynolds-Jackson, who gave up her post as Mercer County Democratic chair two weeks ago, defeated Verrelli by a vote of 94-77.
Benedetti was elected to the school board in 2011 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018.
Trenton is makes up about one-third of the district, and accounts for 92 of the 278 county committee seats – if all the seats are filled. Ewing (56), Lawrence (42), West Windsor (32) and Hopewell Township (24) also have large blocks of votes. Pennington has six votes and Hopewell has four; the three towns in the Hunterdon County portion of the district – East Amwell, Lambertville and West Amwell – combine for 22 votes.
Both Assembly seats will be on the ballot in November to fill the remaining fourteen months of Muoio and Gusciora’s term. The district is heavily Democratic.