MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan celebrated his successful re-election at the Pines Manor in Edison Tuesday night in a banquet room jam-packed with enthusiastic local Democrats. He will be joined in the State Assembly by a second District 18 Democrat, newcomer Nancy Pinkin.
Diegnan finished Tuesday’s contest with 24,904 votes, or 27 percent of the votes cast. Pinkin’s tally was slightly lower, at 24,094 votes. The two other major-party candidates in the race, Republicans Robert Bengivenga and Lisa Goldhamer, earned 21,451 and 20,513 votes, respectively. Independent candidate Sheila Angalet garnered 1,051 votes.
After first entering the assembly in 2002, Diegnan has held a number of leadership positions, including the chairmanship of the Education Committee and a vice-chairmanship on the Consumer Affairs Committee. Though a seasoned legislator and campaigner, Diegnan has occasionally found his re-election efforts complicated by a resurgent NJ Republican Party. In 2011, Gov. Chris Christie made campaign appearances on behalf of Diegnan’s opponents. Yet then, as now, Diegnan was re-elected by a comfortable margin.
While Diegnan will return to the Assembly, the race's Republican candidates will continue to serve the residents of Middlesex County in other ways. Bengivenga, for instance, will continue in his post on the South Plainfield Borough Council, where he serves as Chair of the Public Safety Committee. As Bengivenga noted once the results were in, "although I didn't have a victory District-wide, I want to thank the residents of South Plainfield for giving me overwhelming support here in my home town. I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of the residents of South Plainfield as your Councilman."