On Tuesday, Nov. 2, voters across New Jersey will head to the polls to cast ballots for their ballots to fill all 80 seats in the state Assembly and 40 seats in the state Senate.
The northernmost—and reddest—district in the state covers all of Sussex County and parts of northern Warren and Morris counties. Towns lawmakers in the district represent include Morris County’s Mount Olive Township; the Sussex County municipalities of Andover Borough, Andover Township, Branchville Borough, Byram Township, Frankford Township, Franklin Borough, Fredon Township, Green Township, Hamburg Borough, Hampton Township, Hardyston Township, Hopatcong Borough, Lafayette Township, Montague Township, Newton Town, Ogdensburg Borough, Sandyston Township, Sparta Township, Stanhope Borough, Stillwater Township, Sussex Borough, Vernon Township, Walpack Township and Wantage Township; and the Warren County municipalities of Allamuchy Township, Belvidere Town, Blairstown Township, Frelinghuysen Township, Hardwick Township, Hope Township, Independence Township, Knowlton Township, Liberty Township, Oxford Township and White Township.
The district has never elected a Democrat to the State Senate or Assembly since the state adopted its 40-district map back in 1973. Forty-one percent of the district’s 170,916 registered voters are Republican and 24% are Democrat, as of July 2021.
Here is a rundown of who is running for a seat in the State Legislature in the 24th Legislative District.
Republican: Steven Oroho (Incumbent)
Bio: Oroho assumed office in 2008 and is currently the Republican budget officer, a position he has held since 2019. He has also served on committees such as joint budget oversight, economic growth and budget and appropriations. Prior to becoming a state senator, Oroho was a Franklin Borough councilman from 2001 to 2006 and a Sussex County freeholder from 2005 to 2007. His professional background as a financial planner includes working at some of Manhattan’s top firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers and W.R. Grace and Company.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Oroho has said he believes New Jersey should reinstate the death penalty for certain murder cases. In 2012, he also spoke out against the state legalizing same-sex marriage.
Democrat: Frederick Cook
Bio: The Blairstown resident previously ran for a state Senate seat twice — 2001 and 2003. He also pursued a state Assembly seat in 1989.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Cook is running alongside his wife, Carol, who is seeking an state Assembly seat in the 24th district. The husband-wife team, as well as Democratic Assembly candidate Scott Fadden, have all been endorsed by local Democratic leaders.
Republican: Parker Space (Incumbent)
Bio: After taking office in 2013, Space has served on committees for agriculture and labor. Prior to becoming an assemblyman, Space was a Sussex County freeholder from 2010 to 2013 and a Wantage Township councilman from 2004 to 2009, including three years as mayor. He has been a volunteer firefighter since 1989 and is the owner of Space Farms Zoo & Museum.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Space made headlines in 2018 for posting a photo on social media of himself on standing in front of a Confederate flag at a Hank Williams Jr. concert. Three years earlier, Space was the only lawmaker to abstain from an Assembly vote to condemn Confederate flag displays.
Republican: Harold Wirths (Incumbent)
Bio: After taking office in 2018, the Hardyston resident has served on several committees including joint budget oversight, budget, labor, appropriations and telecommunications and utilities. Prior to that, Wirths was commissioner of the New Jersey Labor and Workforce Development from 2010 to 2016, an appointment he received from former Republican Gov. Chris Christie. His background also includes a decade on the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Wirth owned and operated furniture stores for nearly 20 years and was a founder of Noble Community Bank, now part of Lakeland Bank.
Democrat: Scott Fadden
Bio: Fadden, a political newcomer from Sparta, is an ironworker and union representative.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Fadden said he is pursuing an Assembly seat because he believes Sussex County’s “long history of Republican representation in Trenton” has resulted in “lackluster benefits brought back to our legislative district.”
Democrat: Carol Cook
Bio: A longtime Blairstown resident, Cook has pursued office before, including three bids for Warren County freeholder and a run for a Blairstown council seat. Now retired, her professional background includes working as a medical office manager and a senior level executive. She has also served on several municipal boards, including Blairstown’s open space commission, environmental commission, planning board, zoning board and shade tree commission.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Cook has said some of her biggest priorities are economic development and improving the area’s internet infrastructure.