In Brief

National funds to boost New Jersey Democrats in three districts

By: - October 12, 2023 7:01 am

The 38th Legislative District, where Sen. Joe Lagana (D) is leading the incumbents' ticket, is among the districts getting a financial boost from national Democrats. (Hal Brown for New Jersey Monitor)

With less than a month before Election Day, national Democrats have announced investments in three of the state’s competitive legislative districts, including one Bergen County district that hasn’t elected a Republican in more than 20 years.

The funding boost comes as Democrats seek to bolster their candidates and Republicans attempt to win majorities that have eluded them for decades. All 120 seats in the Legislature are on the ballot this year.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee announced it would send $50,000 to boost Democrats in the 11th, 16th, and 38th districts in what it said were its first investments into New Jersey this election cycle.

“We aren’t taking anything for granted. The Democratic trifecta in New Jersey is what protects people from MAGA extremism and we must elect our DLCC ‘spotlight candidates’ to maintain our majorities and keep New Jersey moving forward,” said Heather Williams, the committee’s interim president.

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The funds will go to boost get-out-the-vote efforts in those districts, with the investment split equally between Assembly and Senate Democratic leadership committees, which will decide how to split the funds between the three districts.

The three districts are among Republicans’ top targets of the year.

The 11th District is the only district in the state that elected lawmakers of different parties in 2021, a Democrat for the Senate and two Republicans for the Assembly. Democrats gained full control of the 16th District’s three seats the same year, three years after they won a race there for the first time since the state adopted its 40-district map in 1972. And Democrats are perennially concerned about an upset in the 38th District, which has seen some tight races in recent cycles but remains in Democratic control.

One Democrat-held district is conspicuously absent from the list. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee did not say it would send funds to the 4th District, where redrawn boundaries and the retirement of longtime Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester) have made the district a top target for the GOP.

The Democratic investments come weeks after the Republican State Leadership Committee, the DLCC’s GOP counterpart, announced it put nearly $1 million behind a digital ad campaign to boost mail-in voting among Republicans.

“The DLCC does not take any majority for granted and we know Republicans are spending big to try to erode progress in states like New Jersey. That’s why we’re announcing our new investments to counter the flood of Republican spending in the state,” Williams said.

Election Day is Nov. 7. Early in-person voting starts Oct. 28. Find out how to register to vote.

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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.