HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Laurie Poppe, an attorney and social worker who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Township Committee in 2015 and 2016, has been selected by state Democrats to run for state Senate in the 16th Legislative District against longtime Republican incumbent Christiopher "Kip" Bateman, who has been in elective office for 35 years.

"We need leaders in Trenton who are willing to stand up for what’s right instead of putting special interests ahead of the people they’re supposed to represent," Poppe said. "I work with New Jersey families every day, so I know the challenges that hard-working people in our state face, and my experience in collaborative law has taught me how to balance competing interests while moving toward common goals."

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th, will run for re-election to the state Assembly, joined by Roy Freiman. The district was a Republican stronghold until Zwicker defeated Republican Assemblywoman Donna Simon in 2015.

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Simon will seek to regain her seat in November, and will be joined by Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire as Republican Assembly candidates in the 16th District.

Zwicker, a scientist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, stressed his commitment to evidence-based decision-making in representing the residents of the 16th Legislative District.

“Two years ago I promised to be an independent voice in Trenton—to make decisions based on evidence, not ideology,” Zwicker said, “I stayed true to that promise, putting the interests of the 16th Legislative District and New Jersey ahead of politics. I am working with legislators from both sides of the aisle to expand our innovation economy, make college more affordable, and hold the line of taxes.

"That is why I bucked my party’s leadership and big special interests to vote against the gas tax," Zwicker added. "And it is why I go door-to-door to listen to the concerns of our residents. As a scientist, I know the importance of facts and evidence in making the right decisions. It is why I ran last time and it is even more important now.“

His running mate stresses the importance of collaboration.

“As a businessman, I know the most important factor in succeeding is to provide solutions to customers’ issues. I also know that collaboration is the key to finding the best solutions. Yelling at people who disagree with you doesn’t work,” said Freiman, a former executive at Prudential Financial, “New Jersey faces many challenges, from our broken pension system to an economy that is still struggling to produce the good jobs and the careers our state needs to grow. I will use the principles of collaboration to get to the right solutions in the legislature. Working with Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, we will team up to grow our economy and put the interests of Central Jersey above partisan politics.”

Poppe was defeated in the November 2016 Hillsborough Township Committee race by incumbent Committeeman Frank Delcore. She received 7,711 votes; DelCore received 11,545 votes.

Her opponent this fall has been a state Senator since 2008; prior to that, Bateman represented the 16th District in the Assembly from 1994-2007. He was a Somerset County Freeholder, serving from 1988-94. He began his political career as a member of the Branchburg Township Committee, serving from 1983-88.