With all of the hoopla surrounding this year’s federal contests and the summer party conventions, Save Jerseyans, it’s easy to forget that we have some very important “special” legislative races to win.
Exhibit A is the fight for New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District.
You may recall how Freshman Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-Flemington) replaced the late Pete Biondi back in January 2012 after a potential primary challenge fizzled. State law mandates a special election this November given the timing of Simon’s ascension, and she now faces a challenge from art teacher Marie Corfield.
Post-redistricting in 2011, the new LD16 includes the following municipalities: Branchburg, Delaware, Flemington, Hillsborough, Manville, Millstone, Montgomery, Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, Raritan Township, Readington, Rocky Hill, Somerville, South Brunswick and Stockton.
It could be a very close race to the finish notwithstanding Marie Corfield’s extremely far-left worldview.
In fact, Corfield almost won the seat that Assemblywoman Simon presently occupies in 2011; the Democrat finished 3.4-points behind Biondi in his last race and only 2.6-points behind Simon’s current running mate, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough), who won by only 1,975 votes against a “no name” Democrat. LD16’s new party affiliation composition is relatively even: 33,260 registered Republicans, 38,295 Democrats and 67,353 Unaffiliated. Adding to this district’s “swing” status is the fact that President Obama won it by 10,341 votes over Jon McCain in 2008 while Chris Christie carried it by 13,077 just one year later in 2009 against Jon Corzine.
Competitive for sure! But what makes this race especially interesting is how closely the candidates mirror their respective state parties’ core messaging heading into the 2013 gubernatorial and legislative elections. Simon is a former Readington councilwoman who is well-acquainted with Trenton’s many failings and the challenges facing budget-strapped municipalities. Corfield is an uber-liberal public school art teacher who first entered the public sphere when she picked a fight with Governor Christie at one of his famous town hall meetings:
For all of the above cited reasons and more, the battle for LD16 will attract plenty of attention from New Jersey politicos as November creeps closer.
Priority #1 for all Save Jerseyans for Election 2012 is still retiring Barack Obama; just keep in mind that property tax reductions, school choice implementation, further pensions reforms, state income tax cuts and a variety of other critical topics won’t advance until the GOP successfully changes the composition of the state legislature. So LD16 matters! A lot.