20th Legislative District (New Jersey)
|New Jersey's 20th Legislative district|
|New Jersey State Senator||Raymond Lesniak (D)|
|New Jersey General Assemblymembers||Joseph Cryan (D)
Annette Quijano (D)
New Jersey's 20th Legislative District is one of 40 in the New Jersey Legislature. As of the 2011 apportionment, the district includes the Union County municipalities of Elizabeth City, Hillside Township, Roselle Borough and Union Township.
As of the 2010 United States Census, the district had a population of 210,628, of whom 159,952 (75.9%) were of voting age. The racial makeup of the district was 111,978 (53.2%) White, 54,600 (25.9%) African American, 1,192 (0.6%) Native American, 9,387 (4.5%) Asian, 46 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 25,490 (12.1%) from some other race, and 7,898 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 89,691 (42.6%) of the population. The district had 108,085 registered voters as of November 2013, of whom 44,768 (41.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated, 55,779 (51.6%) were registered as Democrats, 7,497 (6.9%) were registered as Republicans and 41 (0.0%) were registered to other parties.
The district has a higher-than-average percentage of residents who are foreign born (at 35.6%, the 3rd highest of all 40 districts in the state), Hispanic (5th highest of any district statewide) and African American (11th highest). The number and percentage of registered voters is lowest in the state. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a better than 4 to 1 margin, with Republican registration percentage one of the lowest of any district statewide.
Changes to the district made as part of the New Jersey Legislative redistricting in 2001, based on the results of the 2000 United States Census removed Linden City and Rahway City (both to the 22nd Legislative District) and added Kenilworth Borough and Union Township (both from the 21st District).
For the 2014-2015 Session, the district is represented in the State Senate by Raymond Lesniak (D, Elizabeth) and in the General Assembly by Joseph Cryan (D, Union) and Annette Quijano (D, Elizabeth).
In the 1973 State Senate race, Alexander J. Menza defeated incumbent Republican Frank X. McDermott, who had served 10 years in office, helping the Democrats gain control of the state legislature for only the third time in the 20th century.
In the 1975 elections, McDermott made a comeback and won a seat in the Assembly. In the 1977 Senate race, Menza chose not to run for re-election (he would run a distant third in the 1978 United States Senate primaries). McDermott ran again for the seat, losing to Democrat Anthony E. Russo.
In redistricting following the 1980 United States Census, C. Louis Bassano was shifted to the 21st Legislative District, where he ran for (and won) the State Senate seat. Chuck Hardwick was also shifted to the 21st District, where he would win the Assembly seat. With both seats open, Democrats Thomas J. Deverin and Raymond Lesniak, who had both previously served as representatives of the 21st District, won in the Assembly. In the Senate race that year, Anthony E. Russo was also shifted to the 21st District and was replaced by John T. Gregorio, an incumbent Democrat who was shifted from the 21st District.
Gregorio was forced to resign in 1983 after being convicted of conspiracy for concealing his ownership of two go go bars that were operated by his son. In a June 1983 special election, Lesniak won the seat Gregorio was forced to vacate. In turn, another special election was held in August 1983 to fill Lesniak's vacancy, a race that was won by Thomas W. Long.
After five terms in the 20th District, Thomas J. Deverin was relocated to the 19th Legislative District in 1991, with redistricting following the 1990 Census tending to favor Republicans. In the 1991 Republican landslide, the 20th bucked the trend, with incumbent George Hudak and Elizabeth, New Jersey Mayor Thomas G. Dunn holding on to the seats for the Democrats.
Joseph Suliga represented the district in the Assembly until 2002, when he was shifted to the 22nd Legislative District as part of the New Jersey Legislative Districts, 2001 redistricting, and was elected to the State Senate. Joseph Cryan was elected to the Assembly in 2001, filling Suliga's Assembly seat.
Neil M. Cohen resigned from the Assembly on July 24, 2008, after images of child pornography were found on his state-issued computer. Democratic committee members from the district selected Annette Quijano to fill Cohen's vacancy.
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