(Trenton, NJ) — Tonight, after ballots are counted, Democrats will have selected the most diverse slate of congressional candidates the state has ever assembled, says the chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.
Two women, Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County Freeholder, in New Jersey's Third Congressional District and Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach in the state's Seventh Congressional District have already won Party support.
Meanwhile, in the Fifth Congressional District, Democrats will nominate attorney Roy Cho, the son of Korean immigrants.
in the competitive Twelfth Congressional District, Democrats are choosing from several capable state legislators, all of whom are from underrepresented communities. Two are women -- Senator Linda R. Greenstein, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, an African American -- and Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula is South Asian.
Last fall, New Jersey became the first state to be simultaneously represented by an African American and a Latino senator. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez is Cuban American, and U.S. Senator Cory Booker, is African American. More than 42% of New Jersey's population are black and Latino, according to news reports.
Senator Booker will again lead the Democratic ticket this year, along with two other incumbent Democrats from minority groups: Albio Sires is of Cuban descent, while Donald Payne Jr. is African American. In total, more than half of the state's Democratic congressional candidates will be women or minorities.
The candidates expected to round-out the Democratic ticket this November include: Incumbent Congressmen Frank Pallone Jr. and Bill Pascrell Jr., South Jersey State Senator Donald Norcross, former federal prosecutor William Hughes Jr., criminal defense attorney Ruben M. Scolavino, and Mark Dunec, a global management consultant.
“We have a great crop of Democratic candidates this election cycle, and we are running against a Republican Party that is reckless and irresponsible, and that stands in the way of equality and progress. No matter the outcome, we will have congressional candidates who better reflect our state's diversity. I look forward to electing a new delegation that looks more like the people of New Jersey, includes capable women, and shares middle class values,” said Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie, who has made inclusion a hallmark of his tenure.
By contrast, the biggest problem for New Jersey Republicans is who they are, what they believe, what they say, and how they govern. After President Obama’s reelection, Republican leaders argued for reaching out to communities of color, and being more inclusive of women and other groups. In New Jersey, these recommendations have largely gone unheeded, as Republicans continue to say and do things that alienate large swaths of the electorate.