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The 28th District Seat Is Anticipated for Maplewood?

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-South Orange) will not seek re-election to the State Assembly seat she has held since 2007. She is the 15th member of the New Jersey Legislature to resign prior to this year’s midterm election, and the tenth to retire from the legislature.

Jasey received commitments of support for re-election after redistricting shifted her political base, South Orange and Maplewood, from a wealthy but safe Democratic suburban district that included Livingston and Millburn in Essex and extended to Madison and Harding in Morris into the urban, but still overwhelmingly Democratic 28th district that includes Irvington and portions of Newark.

However, Jasey, who cares for her 97-year-old mother, has decided that her sixteen years in Trenton and eight years on the school board are sufficient.

Maplewood has become a major contributor to Democratic pluralities in Essex County in recent years, partly as a result of high voter turnout. Jasey’s replacement is projected to hail from Maplewood. In the state legislative district with the biggest Black population, it is also likely that Essex Democrats will endorse a Black candidate.

Maplewood Township Committeewoman Jamaine Cripe, former Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee, Deputy Essex County Clerk Garnet Hall, and former Maplewood Township Committeewoman India Larrier are potential candidates. Bobby Brown, a former NFL wide receiver who played for Notre Dame and the Cleveland Browns, and Summer Jones, a South Orange Village trustee, could possibly emerge as Assembly candidates.

If Maplewood wins the available Assembly seat, it will be the first time the Essex town has had a lawmaker since 1965, when Assemblyman Mario Genova (R-Maplewood), vice president of IBEW Local 430, failed to win re-election.

State Sen. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington), who won a special election convention last year after State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark) resigned for health reasons, and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker represent the new 28th district (D-Newark).

Tucker, age 79, expressed interest in the Senate post, but the party leader chose Burgess instead. This year, she is considered a likely candidate for re-election to a ninth term, but this could alter before to the March 27 filing deadline. The Assembly seat would remain in Newark regardless of the outcome.

Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Jasey, 71, was initially chosen in a 2007 special election convention to replace Assemblyman Mims Hackett (D-Orange), who resigned following his arrest on bribery charges. She has been victorious eight times.

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