In 2023, all 120 seats in the State Senate and Assembly are on the ballot as well as key local races such as county commissioners. The primary for the legislative districts will be held on June 6. Additionally, competitive non-partisan elections are being held in North Jersey towns such as West New York and North Bergen on May 9. As part of our efforts to keep residents of North Jersey best informed, North-JerseyNews.com will post a roundup of the news of the week.
24th Legislative District
Senator Steve Oroho, the Senate Republican Leader, and Assemblyman Hal Wirths, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer, announced their endorsement of Parker Space for Senate and Dawn Fantasia and Mike Inganamort for Assembly.
“Parker’s commitment to the district is without question,” said Senator Oroho. “The Space family has resided in Sussex County for generations, they’ve operated a successful small business, Space Farms, for decades, and have been very involved in the community as first responders and public servants. Constituents like to know that you’re accessible. Parker’s longstanding involvement in the community makes him relatable to residents, they trust his honesty and down-home nature, and they recognize that he’s a strong advocate for the issues that our district residents care about deeply.”
“Whether it’s help with unemployment, motor vehicles, taxation, state regulations, social services, or even changing a law, the issues that residents contact our office with needing assistance runs the gamut,” said Assemblyman Wirths. “Our joint legislative district office is staffed with well-known, well-respected professionals who know how to effectively navigate the intricacies of state government as well as the state legislature. From day one, there will be no learning curve with the team of Parker, Dawn and Mike because the District 24 joint office is already in place. That seamless transition will be immeasurable in providing quality services to district residents.”
25th Legislative District
Dr. Jonathan Torres of Randolph and Diane Salvatore of Madison announced their candidacy for State Assembly in District 25, joining previously-declared State Senate candidate Christine Clarke of Jefferson on “Team LD25.”
“It’s a joy to run with these incredible people for whom I am also so excited to vote,” said Christine Clarke, State Senate candidate and running mate on the Team LD25 ticket. Dr. Jonathan Torres is an award-winning family medicine physician and physician educator, a dedicated Scouts BSA leader and father-of-two running for State Assembly to make sure patient care decisions stay between patients and their doctors, and are not made by politicians or insurance companies. Torres works in the Department of Family Medicine at Morristown Medical Center and founded the osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine residency program in 2016. He also oversaw a COVID-19 unit during the pandemic in 2020.
Diane Salvatore is a magazine and digital journalism professional, and a four-time Editor-in-Chief, including for Consumer Reports, Prevention and Ladies’ Home Journal where she focused on creating high-quality, mission-based journalism aimed at improving people’s lives through community and policy change. Salvatore is running for State Assembly to make New Jersey an excellent place for new retirees and seniors to thrive by advocating for creative, thoughtful and affordable living and housing options with greater cross-generational planning in our neighborhoods.
26th Legislative District
Republican Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo described State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio’s (R-26) comments following Saturday’s county convention as “classless” and another indication of why the Senator needs to be replaced.
“Senator Pennacchio’s comment following the Republican convention is just another indicator as to why he has been completely ineffective in representing our district,” said Mastrangelo.
Pennacchio accused Mastrangelo of having a “political psychosis” for daring to challenge him for the District 26 Senate seat, which Pennacchio has held since 2008.
“Not only does the senator’s comment show a lack of class and grace, but also a lack of compassion for persons who have real mental health issues,” said Mastrangelo. “After 15 years in Trenton, Sen. Pennacchio thinks like an entrenched political insider who is entitled to his seat without question or contest. That’s not the way our democracy works.”
“If he fought the Democrats in Trenton with the same vigor as he attacks me, he might actually be an effective legislator. But he’s not a fighter and he’s not effective and I will demonstrate that to Republican voters between now and the June Primary Election,” said Mastrangelo.
27th Legislative District
Essex County Democrats awarded their organization line for State Senate in the 27th district to State Sen. Richard J. Codey over another incumbent placed in the same district during the latest round of legislative apportionment, State Sen. Nia Gill.
Two assemblymen, Thomas P. Giblin and John McKeon, have party support for re-election in the 27th on the line with Codey.
Senator Nia H. Gill, Esq. has announced her running mates for the June Democratic Primary election in the 27th Legislative District, Eve Robinson and Frank Kasper. The new 27th District includes Montclair, Clifton, West Orange, Livingston, Millburn, and Roseland.
“Frank, Eve, and I are proud to reflect the rich diversity of the 27th District,” said Gill. “For twelve terms in the Legislature, I have fought for the people’s right to transparency into how their government works and the decision-making processes that shape public policy, for accountability to guarantee our government answers to the citizens it serves, and to ensure that people can access the democratic process and have their voices heard.”
“I am honored to be joining this ticket and looking forward to working alongside Frank and Nia to fight for the people of the 27th District,” said Robinson. “I have lived in Montclair for 30 years, raised two children and remain an active member of the Montclair community. Nia asked me to join her in running for the Legislature because of my years of service to my community, Montclair, as well as my professional accomplishments in education, advocacy, and child welfare, and I was honored to accept.
“I’m excited to join this ticket and work with Nia and Eve to improve the lives of New Jerseyans,” said Frank Kasper. “My family has lived in Clifton for over 75 years. I am running for the Assembly as a lifelong resident of Clifton and an advocate for education, supporting main street businesses, and fiscally responsible government. I am a graduate of Penn State, received my master’s degree from Montclair State University, and I am certified in K-12 Psychology, 5th-8th Grade Mathematics, Special Education, and Supervision.”
28th Legislative District
In the 28th district, Essex County Democrats have picked Garnet Hall, the deputy Essex County Clerk and Maplewood Democratic municipal vice chair, to run for the seat for the retiring Mila Jasey. Hall will run on the line with State Sen. Renee Burgess and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker.
29th Legislative District
The three incumbent lawmakers in the 29th district will be on the Essex County line for re-election: State Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin, and Assemblywoman Shanique Speight.
34th Legislative District
Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake will run for State Senate in the new 34th district on the Essex County Democrats line.
Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia and Carmen T. Morales, a Belleville resident who is the principal of Newark Tech High School, will run for the State Assembly in the 34th. Ralph Caputo is not seeking re-election, as he is expected to be nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy for a seat on the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey board of directors.
38th Legislative District
Reed Elman, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer, will run the re-election campaigns of State Sen. Joseph Lagana, Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, and Assemblyman Christopher Tully.
Elman was the digital director for the DCCC’s Sunbelt region in 2022, running a coordinated digital and media strategy for Democratic House candidates in 12 states, including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. He helped raise money through in-house fundraising platforms and assisted candidates with their online fundraising efforts. The California native worked for political consulting firms during the 2018 and 2020 cycle, participating in campaigns for Amy Klobuchar, Charlie Crist, and the Democratic Party of Georgia during a cycle when they flipped two United States Senate seats.
Glen Rock businessman Barry Wilkes and crisis intervention counselor Gail Horton are running for the Assembly. Republicans, after Paramus Councilman Robert Kaiser and former Assemblyman Guy Talarico decline to run, have yet to announced a candidate for State Senate.
Bergen County Commissioners
Bergenfield Councilman Rafael Marte won a special election convention to replace Ramon Hache on the Bergen County Board of Commissioners tonight without opposition. Hache resigned last month to take a job as CEO of the Ridgewood YMCA. Marte will replace him on the Democratic ticket for a three-year term in the June primary.
Hudson County Commissioners
Hudson County Executive candidate Craig Guy is announcing that he has received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police of New Jersey as well as the Jersey City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4. Both the statewide and local organizations are praising Guy’s extensive experience as a police officer and his commitment to public safety and supporting law enforcement in government.
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest organization of police and law enforcement in the state, committed to advocating for those who serve through education, community involvement, and legislation.
“Craig Guy’s long and varied career in public service, as a police officer as well as his work in government, makes him the ideal candidate for Hudson County,” said Bob Gries, FOP NJ Executive Vice President. “He has been dedicated to serving his community for his entire life and I have full confidence that he is the right candidate to deliver real results to the county.”
Guy is also being endorsed by the Jersey City FOP Lodge 7, which represents hundreds of local officers.
The Hudson County Progressive Democrats have recruited Stephanie Martinez, a local environmental activist, to run in the open 8th district being vacated by Chairman Anthony Vainieri. Stephanie is an environmental advocate, and organizer who was active during her academic years at SPU and in her community, North Bergen. As a gen Z candidate, she understands that environmental justice is social justice. When it comes to environmentalism she connects it to gender equality, food sovereignty, and public health care.
The Hudson County Progressive Democrats have recruited six candidates to run for county commissioner in the upcoming county primary elections on June 6th, as well as Eleana Little for County Executive. The Progressives hope to win a majority on the county council as well as defeat Craig Guy for the open county executive seat.
West New York
Commissioner Cosmo A. Cirillo filed petition signatures for the upcoming West New York May municipal elections with the Town Clerk’s Office. The West New York Forward team collected more than 12,000 petition signatures from community members of various demographics and socioeconomic levels, ensuring that every family member is counted for and represented fairly. Cirillo is running as a candidate for mayor of West New York under the Team for a Better West New York, alongside Commissioner Margarita Guzman, Assemblywoman Angelica M. Jimenez, and longtime residents Walter Lopez and Hiram Gonzalez for commissioner positions.
The “Sires Team for WNY” slate of candidates for the West New York Board of Commissioners has now filed over 15,000 signed nominating petitions, setting a record for the most ever submitted for a municipal election in West New York. The overwhelming total shows a massive groundswell of public support for the Sires Team.
The Sires Team consists of former Mayor and Congressman Albio Sires, Commissioner Victor Barrera, Board of Education President Adam Parkinson, Board of Education Trustee Marielka Diaz and housing advocate Marcos Arroyo. The team has announced several priority agenda items it will pursue, including improving public safety, increasing affordable housing and public parking, building a new public library and media center as well as a new recreation center with federal, state and county funds without impacting local taxpayers.
North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco’s team collected over 8,300 signed nominating petitions for the upcoming May nonpartisan election. The Sacco Team officially filed petitions with the North Bergen Township Clerk to secure a place on the ballot.
Over the course of three weeks, Sacco campaign supporters worked tirelessly to gather signatures from registered voters throughout North Bergen. Sacco was joined in the Commission Chambers at Township Hall to announce the total, along with his running mates and fellow incumbents Commissioners Hugo Cabrera and Allen Pascual, as well as the newest members of his team Anthony Vainieri and Claudia Rodriguez. Commissioner Frank Gargiulo, who is serving as Campaign Manager for the Sacco Team, and Commissioner Julio Marenco who is running for State Assembly were also in attendance.
In his bid to oust eight-term North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and his team, challenger Larry Wainstein has announced four running mates to join him on his slate in the May 9 non-partisan municipal election.
Lucy Rodriguez, Tony Parrales, Alcides Siri, and Franklin Fabre will join Wainstein, who is challenging Sacco for a third time. All four of Wainstein’s running mates are political newcomers.
Rodriguez is a social worker for Catholic Charities, Parrales is a shop steward for Teamsters Local 560, Siri is a mechanic for Ford Motor Company, and Fabre is a small business owner.
Nine candidates filed for four seats on the Passaic City Council, where a slate that includes popular veteran City Council President Gary Schaer – and has the backing of Mayor Hector Lora – is favored to win.
Incumbents Thania Melo, Chaim Munk, and former Councilwoman Maritza Colon-Montanez are running with Schaer, who is an Assemblyman for the 35th Legislative District.
The opposing slate is Diomedes Minaya, who is making his eleventh bid for local office in the City of Passaic. He is joined by Lisa Abrue Wozniak, who lost a 2021 run for city council, and first-time candidate Marko Kopic, a former high school wrestler with a history of financial problems. Also running is Jeffrey Dye.
A majority of the seats on the Cedar Grove Township Council are up in the May 9 non-partisan municipal election, where Councilman Peter Tanella is retiring after eighteen years in local government.
Mayor Joseph Maceri is seeking his second term on a ticket with Councilman John Zazzali and former school board member Michele Mega. All of the candidates are running unopposed.
Five candidates running as a ticket are unopposed in Lodi’s May non-partisan municipal election.
Mayor Scott Luna is leading a slate that includes incumbents Vincent Martin, Emil Carafa, Jr., and Joseph P. Leto IV. Councilman Albert DiChiara is not seeking re-election and his apparent replacement is Bruce Masopust, a former mayor.
Three candidates have filed for two seats on the Verona Township Council, where incumbent Christine McGrath and Alex Roman are seeking re-election in the non-partisan municipal election. They are being challenged by Christian Strumolo, who lost a bid for the Verona council in 2005 and the Bloomfield council in 2007.