23rd Legislative District (New Jersey)
|New Jersey's 23rd Legislative District|
|Senator||Michael J. Doherty (R)|
|Assembly members||John DiMaio (R)
Erik Peterson (R)
New Jersey's 23rd Legislative District is one of 40 in the New Jersey Legislature. As of the 2011 apportionment, the district includes the Hunterdon County municipalities of Alexandria Township, Bethlehem Township, Bloomsbury Borough, Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Franklin Township, Frenchtown Borough, Glen Gardner Borough, Hampton Borough, High Bridge Borough, Holland Township, Kingwood Township, Lebanon Borough, Lebanon Township, Milford Borough, Tewksbury Township and Union Township, the Somerset County municipalities of Bedminster Township, Bridgewater Township, Peapack-Gladstone, Raritan Borough and South Bound Brook, and the Warren County municipalities of Alpha Borough, Franklin Township, Greenwich Township, Hackettstown Town, Harmony Township, Lopatcong Township, Mansfield Township, Phillipsburg Town, Pohatcong Township, Washington Borough and Washington Township.
As of the 2010 United States Census, the district had a population of 222,972, of whom 175,967 (76.5%) were of voting age. The racial makeup of the district was 208,724 (90.8%) White, 7,216 (3.1%) African American, 319 (0.1%) Native American, 6,670 (2.9%) Asian, 67 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 3,484 (1.5%) from some other race, and 3,492 (1.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14,158 (6.2%) of the population. The 23rd District had 140,869 registered voters as of November 2013, of whom 63,010 (44.7%) were registered as unaffiliated, 30,022 (21.3%) were registered as Democrats, 47,677 (33.8%) were registered as Republicans and 160 (0.1%) were registered to other parties.
As of 2000, the district had the largest population of any in the state and the second-highest land area, making it one of the least densely populated districts in the state. The district had a small minority population, with comparatively few African American, Asian and Hispanic residents. The district had the highest municipal tax rate in the state, but lower than average school and county taxes leave the overall rate near the statewide median. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by a 2-1 margin.
Upon the creation of the 40-district legislative map in 1973, the 23rd District consisted of central Morris County including Madison, Morristown, Dover, and Town and Township of Boonton. Following the 1981 redistricting, the 23rd shifted to the rural areas of western New Jersey including the Borough and Township of Hopewell and Pennington in Mercer County, all of Hunterdon County except East Amwell Township, in Warren County Franklin Township, Greenwich Township, and the Borough and Township of Washington, western Morris County, and Stanhope in Sussex County. For the 1991 redistricting following the 1990 Census, the district shifted to most of Hunterdon County except for some municipalities in the northern part of the county, all of Warren County, and the Mercer County portion remaining unchanged.
In the 2001 redistricting, the Mercer County municipalities were eliminated from the 23rd with the district only consisting of Hunterdon County save for Tewksbury Township and Califon and all of Warren County. The district experienced a major change following the 2011 redistricting; the 23rd currently consists of southern Warren County including Phillipsburg, Washington, and Hackettstown, most of northern Hunterdon County, and a spur into Somerset County via Bedminster, Peapack-Gladstone, Bridgewater, Raritan borough, Bound Brook, and South Bound Brook.
For the 2014-2015 session, the district is represented in the State Senate by Michael J. Doherty (R, Washington Township, Warren County) and in the General Assembly by John DiMaio (R, Hackettstown) and Erik Peterson (R, Franklin Township, Hunterdon County).
Despite the historic Republican nature of Morris County, Democrats swept the three legislative seats up for election in 1973: Stephen B. Wiley, who was also elected in a special election to complete an unexpired Senate term under the old at-large Morris County district, was elected to a four-year Senate term from this district, Gordon MacInnes and Rosemarie Totaro won both Assembly seats as well. MacInnes and Totaro would both be defeated for re-election in 1975 but Totaro would again serve one term in the Assembly after winning in 1977 and MacInnes would later serve four years in the Senate from the geographically-similar 25th District in 1993. Governor of New Jersey Brendan Byrne nominated State Senator Wiley to the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1977, his nomination was approved by the Senate, but was rejected by the Supreme Court, which ruled that as Wiley had voted to raise the salary of justices of the Supreme Court in 1974, he could not be appointed to serve on the court until after his term of office expired. Wiley served the remainder of his term in the Senate but was defeated for re-election in 1977 by Republican John H. Dorsey.
After the 1981 redistricting, Senator Walter E. Foran and Assemblyman Karl Weidel, who had been elected from the 14th District in the previous election, became representatives from the 23rd. Following the death of Foran in 1986, Dick Zimmer filled the vacant seat in the Senate and William E. Schluter won Zimmer's Assembly seat, and then continued on to the State Senate after Zimmer succeeded Jim Courter in the United States House of Representatives in 1991. Schluter's Assembly seat was filled by Leonard Lance.
On January 24, 2009, a special election was held by a convention of Republican committee members from Hunterdon and Warren counties to fill the Senate vacancy created when Leonard Lance was elected to Congress. Marcia A. Karrow defeated Michael J. Doherty in the special election by a margin of 195 votes to 143. Doherty announced he would run against Karrow a second time in the June 2009 primary, when she would be running as the incumbent.
The Hunterdon and Warren County Republican committee members held another special convention on February 21, 2009 to fill Karrow's vacant Assembly seat. In the contest, Warren County Freeholder John DiMaio defeated Hunterdon County Freeholders Matt Holt and Erik Peterson.
On June 2, 2009, Doherty defeated Karrow in the Republican Senate primary by a margin of 52%-48%, making her the only incumbent to lose a primary battle that year. Doherty went on to win the November special election, defeating Democratic candidate Harvey Baron to fill the remaining two years of the term. Karrow's Senate term ended on November 23, 2009 when Doherty was sworn into office.
Senators and Assembly members elected from the district are as follows:
- Died December 8, 1986
- Resigned June 13, 1986 to join staff of Department of Insurance
- Elected to the Senate in March 1987 special election, sworn in on April 23, 1987
- Elected to the Assembly in August 1986 special election, sworn in on September 8, 1986
- Elected to the Assembly in July 1987 special election, sworn in on September 10, 1987
- Resigned January 3, 1991 upon election to Congress
- Appointed to the Senate on January 29, 1991
- Appointed to the Assembly on February 21, 1991
- Resigned January 3, 2009 upon election to Congress
- Appointed to the Senate on February 9, 2009, lost June 2009 special primary election, served until November 23, 2009
- Won Senate seat in November 2009 special election, sworn in on November 23, 2009
- Appointed to the Assembly on March 16, 2009
- Appointed to the Assembly on December 7, 2009
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- District 23 Profile, Rutgers University. Accessed July 26, 2010.
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District 25: [sic] Democrats have won a few times in heavily Republican Morris County. They swept in 1973, when Stephen Wiley won a State Senate seat and Gordon MacInnes and Rosemarie Totaro went to the Assembly after beating John Dorsey and Assemblyman Albert Merck.
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- Olanoff, Lynn (2009-02-22). "John DiMaio named to fill Assembly seat". The Express-Times. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
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- Staff. "THE 2001 ELECTIONS; RESULTS -- The Races for New Jersey", The New York Times, November 8, 2001. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Kocieniewski, David. "THE 2003 ELECTION: THE STATEHOUSE; Democrats Seize Senate And Widen Assembly Gap", The New York Times, November 5, 2003. Accessed June 23, 2010.
- Staff. "2009 Election Results", The New York Times, November 9, 2009. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Official List; Candidates for General Assembly For GENERAL ELECTION 11/05/2013 Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 4, 2013. Accessed February 10, 2014.