18th Legislative District (New Jersey)
|New Jersey's 18th Legislative district|
|New Jersey State Senator||Peter J. Barnes III (D)|
|New Jersey General Assemblymembers||Patrick J. Diegnan (D)
Nancy Pinkin (D)
New Jersey's 18th Legislative District is one of 40 in the New Jersey Legislature. As of the 2011 apportionment, the district includes the Middlesex County municipalities of East Brunswick Township, Edison Township, Helmetta Borough, Highland Park Borough, Metuchen Borough, South Plainfield Borough and South River Borough.
Changes to the district made as part of the New Jersey Legislative redistricting in 2011, based on the results of the 2010 United States Census, removed Spotswood Borough (to the 14th Legislative District) and added Highland Park (from the 17th Legislative District).
As of the 2010 United States Census, the district had a population of 210,881, of whom 162,296 (77.0%) were of voting age. The racial makeup of the district was 124,665 (59.1%) White, 13,433 (6.4%) African American, 435 (0.2%) Native American, 60,509 (28.7%) Asian, 63 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 6,264 (3.0%) from some other race, and 5,512 (2.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19,092 (9.1%) of the population. The district had 130,788 registered voters as of November 2013, of whom 60,583 (46.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated, 52,052 (39.8%) were registered as Democrats, 18,053 (13.8%) were registered as Republicans and 100 (0.1%) were registered to other parties.
The district had the highest percentage of Asian American residents of any district statewide, with African American, Hispanic and elderly below statewide averages. Registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a better than 2 to 1 margin.
For the 2014-2015 Legislative Session, the district is represented in the New Jersey Senate by Peter J. Barnes III (D, Edison) and in the General Assembly by Patrick J. Diegnan (D, South Plainfield) and Nancy Pinkin (D, East Brunswick).
In April 1991, five-term incumbent Frank M. Pelly announced that he would not seek re-election and was named by Governor James Florio to serve as executive director of the New Jersey Lottery. In the 1991 Republican landslide, Jack Sinagra took the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Thomas H. Paterniti, while in the Assembly race, Harriet E. Derman and running mate Jeffrey A. Warsh were elected, knocking off Democratic incumbent George A. Spadoro and his running mate Michael Baker. Derman and Warsh won re-election in 1993, defeating former Assemblymember Thomas H. Paterniti and his running mate Matthew Vaughn.
After Christine Whitman took office in 1994, she named Derman to head the Department of Community Affairs. Republican Joanna Gregory-Scocchi was chosen by a Republican special convention to fill Derman's vacancy. In a November 1994 special election, early favorite Gregory-Scocchi was defeated by Barbara Buono, after disclosures that Gregory-Scocchi's temporary employment firm had hired illegal immigrants.
In the 1995 elections, the Assembly seats swung back to the Democrats, with Barbara Buono holding onto her seat and her running mate Peter J. Barnes II winning too, defeating Republican incumbent Warsh and his running mate Jane Tousman, despite Republicans outspending the Democrats by a 2-1 margin in the bitterly fought battleground district.
In May 2001, Sinagra announced that he would not run for a fourth term, leaving Barbara Buono as the favorite to pick up the seat for the Democrats. Buono went on to win the Senate seat, and in the Assembly Peter J. Barnes II won re-election together with running mate Patrick J. Diegnan, leaving all three legislative seats controlled by Democrats for the first time since 1991.
In March 2007, after Peter J. Barnes II was confirmed to a seat on the New Jersey State Parole Board, his son Peter J. Barnes III was chosen to fill his vacant seat in the Assembly by a convention of Democratic party delegates.
In the November 2013 gubernatorial election, Barbara Buono chose not to run for re-election, choosing instead to mount an unsuccessful challenge to Chris Christie's bid for re-election as Governor of New Jersey. In the 18th district, Peter J. Barnes III moved from the Assembly to the Senate, winning Buono's seat against East Brunswick mayor David Stahl in a close race. Barnes's seat in the Assembly was won by East Brunswick Township Councilmember Nancy Pinkin.
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