This year in New Jersey, all 120 seats in the legislature were eligible for re-election. With 40 seats up for grabs in the State Senate and 80 seats in the State Assembly split between 40 districts, this was an intensely competitive election. For Democrats, this election meant competing for their majority in both chambers. For Republicans, this election came with the possibility of closing the gap, with the added potential of winning a majority in either one or both chambers. However, with the final results in, Democrats managed to hold onto their legislative majorities and even expand them. “The Outlook” compiled the results by district.
Republicans were able to keep a decisive lead in LD-1, with Senator Mike Testa Jr. commanding a considerable lead over Charles Laspata, the Democratic candidate. In the Assembly, incumbent Republicans Antwan McClellan and Erik Simonsen won in Cape May County by over 9,000 votes, according to the County Clerk.
In LD-2, Republican incumbent Senator Vincent Polistina continued to secure his seat over Democratic nominee Caren Fitzpatrick. Republican Assembly incumbents Don Guardian and Claire Swift also found a path to victory, keeping their seats.
In one of the most closely viewed races in the state, the Democrats were able to secure the votes needed to unseat Senator Edward Durr. The race was close, with Democratic nominee John Burzichelli winning 53% of the vote compared to Durr’s 47%. Additionally, Democrats flipped both seats in the Assembly with Dave Bailey Jr. and Heather Simmons replacing the incumbent Republicans.
In LD-4, Democratic Assemblyman Paul Moriarty replaced retiring Senator Fred Madden, with both Democratic Assembly candidates winning their first terms.
In LD-5, incumbent Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D) was able to defeat Clyde Cook in the Senate. In the Assembly, both incumbents took a decisive victory.
In LD-6, Democratic incumbents across the Senate and Assembly retained their seats, with Senator James Beach taking over 70% of the vote, according to the “New York Times.”
In LD-7, Democrats once again widely retained their seats in both the Senate and Assembly.
The entire Republican ticket prevailed in a close race in LD-8. With all 3 incumbents winning narrowly, LD-8 has shown its competitiveness.
Republican Senate candidate Carmen Amato Jr. was able to nail a steady win in LD-9, with incumbent Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre winning both Assembly seats for the Republicans.
The Republican incumbent Senator James Holzapfel expectedly secured his fourth term. In the Assembly, Republicans also took a decisive win with Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin securing his seventh term alongside Pt. Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra.
Arguably the most intense and competitive race in the state between both chambers, LD-11 turned completely blue this year. Incumbent Senator Vin Gopal (D) was reelected to his seat, staving off a fierce challenge from Steve Dnistrian. In the Assembly, incumbents Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner were upset by Democrats Luanne Peterpaul and Margie Donlon.
Republicans clinched a decisive victory in LD-12, with incumbent Senator Owen Henry and Assemblymen Rob Clifton and Alex Sauckie maintaining their seats.
Republican Senator Declan O’Scanlon along with his Assembly counterparts both won re-election in LD-13, with Gerard Scharfenberger and Vicky Flynn winning 60% of the vote according to the “New York Times.”
Facing off against Republican challengers Patricia Johnson, Adam Elias, and Skye Gilmartin, Democrats Linda Greenstein, Wayne DeAngelo, and Tennille McCoy kept their seats in LD-14.
As LD-15 is largely located in Trenton, Democrats found it easy to secure a win for Shirley Turner against Roger LoCandro. In the Assembly, Democrats secured an additional win, with candidates Verlina Jackson and Anthony Verreli competing against Michel Hurtado and Pedro Reyes.
Districts 16, 17, 18, 19, & 20
In these districts, Democrats were largely expected to win based on their incumbency candidates and the surplus of registered Democrats in these districts. In the end, Republicans presented a difficult challenge, but Democrats across the Senate and Assembly prevailed. Notably, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin won re-election.
In a relatively close race, Republicans John Bramnick, Michele Matsikoudis, and Nancy Muñoz secured a complete column victory.
Senate President Nicholas Scutari along with Assembly counterparts Linda Carter and James Kennedy were able to gain another term for themselves. Scutari won 66% of the vote over Republican William Michelson according to the “New York Times.”
Districts 23, 24, 25, & 26
In these heavily conservative districts, Republican candidates were able to sweep across the Senate and Assembly. Among the Senate, Doug Steinhardt, Parker Space, and Joseph Pennacchio all won their respective races. Anthony Bucco, the current Senate Minority Leader, easily secured his re-election in LD-25.
Districts 27, 28, & 29
In these three districts, Democrats have historically dominated. 2023 was no exception to this, with all Democratic candidates scoring a victory. In the Senate, John McKeon replaced Richard Codey, the former governor of New Jersey. In LD-28, Democrats went uncontested.
Republican incumbent Robert Singer defeated Stephen Dobbins in the Senate. In the Assembly, the Republican district trifecta received an upset, as Democrat Avi Schnall procured a victory against incumbent Edward Thomson. Republican Assemblyman Sean Kean was able to retain his seat.
Districts 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, & 38
In these strongly left-leaning districts, Democrats swept all of the available seats. In LD-33, Democrats faced competition from the far-left Socialist Workers Party, who secured 3% of the vote.
Districts 29 & 30
In these North Jersey districts, Republican Candidates across the ballot were able to easily seek re-election and win. Holly Schepisi and Kristin Corrado both prevailed for another term in the Senate.
In Monmouth County, two out of the five County Commissioner seats were up for re-election. Ross Licitra (R) was able to win another term for himself. With incumbent Republican Lillian Burry retiring, Shrewsbury Mayor and local attorney Erik Anderson easily won her seat for the Republicans.
West Long Branch
In West Long Branch, both Republican candidates for Borough Council ran uncontested.
This election elicited a variety of reactions from the student body. A third-year student, who identifies as a Republican and wishes to remain unnamed, said, “These elections show that every election is important. More Republicans need to get out and vote and take advantage of mail-in and early voting.”
Another unnamed student, who is a second year and identifies as left-leaning, made a differing comment: “Tuesday’s results show us that young people are making their voice heard, and that they want change in our state.”
These elections have shown how New Jerseyans want to be represented. As it was the first major election since the official “end” of the COVID-19 crisis, we saw how voters reacted to the economic and social changes it brought on.