TRENTON, NJ – State Assemblywoman Donna Simon, R-16, said Monday that she will not seek a recount in the 16th legislative district race, finally giving the full victory to Democratic challenger Andrew Zwicker.
Simon, who is attending the legislative session in Trenton, said that she placed a call to her challenger Monday morning conceding the race.
Zwicker, the physicist from South Brunswick, confirmed the call and said that Simon “was gracious” in giving up the tightly contested race.
Simon, who had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to call for a recount, said in a statement that she would let it speak for itself and not grant any other interviews at this time.
Election night totals gave Zwicker a 29-vote advantage which continued to increase to 78 votes by the time all of the provisional ballots were counted on Nov. 9.
Zwicker ended up winning the race 16,308 to Simon’s 16,230.
He attended the South Brunswick Veterans’ Day ceremony in South Brunswick with Assemblyman Jack Ciatarelli, R-16, who retained his seat on Election Day, and State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, R-16.
The Assemblyman-elect sat in between the two Republicans during the ceremony and jovially chatted with them both before and after.
He also hosted a victory celebration at Conte’s Pizza in Princeton on Saturday afternoon to thank his supporters, family and campaign staff.
Zwicker had initially conceded the race with running mate Maureen Vella just before 11 p.m. election night, but closed the around 200-vote gap by night’s end.
Only 23 percent of the district’s 143,404 voters turned out in the off-year contest, leaving only a 534-vote span between Ciatarelli on the top and Vella on the bottom.
The Republican stronghold district was changed following the 2010 census to add heavily Democratic South Brunswick and Princeton in an effort to make it more competitive.
Former Democratic candidate Marie Corfield said that the state Democratic Party predicted that the district would “flip” to all Democrats in five years.
Corfield ran three times unsuccessfully for a seat, first against Ciatarelli and the late Peter Biondi in 2011, then against Simon in a special election in 2012 for Biondi’s unexpired term, coming within 1,000 votes.
She then ran again in 2013 during the regular cycle.
Zwicker is the first Democrat ever to represent the district.
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