Democrat flips deep-red New Jersey Assembly seat in upset

Democrats have successfully flipped a seat in New Jersey’s General Assembly in a a deep-red district that has not elected a Democratic legislator in three decades. 

Decision Desk HQ projects that Democrat Avi Schnall has won a seat in the assembly, unseating incumbent Republican Assemblyman Ned Thomson. Voters in each New Jersey legislative district choose two assembly members to represent them, so the contest was a four-way race featuring two Democrats and two Republicans. 

Schnall was elected alongside incumbent Republican Assemblyman Sean Kean in the 30th district. 

Schnall is a former New Jersey director of an organization that advocates for the interests of Orthodox Jews called Agudath Israel of America. He received significant backing from the township of Lakewood’s Orthodox Jewish community. 

He’s also reportedly a former Republican and could vote with Republicans in the Assembly on some issues. But the flip is still a big win for Democrats.

The New Jersey Globe reported that the district supported Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli in 2021 by 28 points and has not elected a Democratic lawmaker since 1992.

The district also overwhelmingly reelected its Republican state senator to another term. 

The district will now have a relatively rare split delegation between its Assembly seats, with one Democrat and one Republican representing its residents.

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