Election scheduled to fill Bonnie Watson Coleman’s Assembly seat

 Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman will be sworn in to Congress on Saturday (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman will be sworn in to Congress on Saturday (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Though 2015 hasn’t officially started yet, campaign season is already in full swing in the New Jersey Assembly’s 15th District, according to Arlene Quinones Perez, the chair of the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee.

Bonnie Watson Coleman will officially leave the 15th District seat vacant when she’s sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday.

On Jan. 24th at 10 a.m., about 240 Democratic committee members from the Mercer and Hunterdon County municipalities that are part of the 15th District will meet at the Mercer Oaks country club and vote on Watson Coleman’s successor.

Theoretically, anyone could be nominated for the position up until the vote takes place. A few other 15th District residents had expressed varying degrees of interest in the seat over the last few weeks. But Quinones Perez said that now it appears to a contest between Mercer County Democratic chair Elizabeth Maher Muoio and Mercer County Freeholder Sam Frisby.

Quinones Perez said both Muoio and Frisby have been busy meeting with the Democratic committee members in recent days, and it could be a close race. Muoio has the support of Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. Frisby has the backing of Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson, and Trenton controls 93 votes among the committee members.

Whoever the committee members elect will get the seat until the end of 2015, and must run for re-election in November of he or she wishes to continue occupying it. But given the heavily Democratic makeup of the district, Quinones Perez said, it’s a safe bet that whoever’s voted in on Jan. 24 will be able to retain it in a general election. Which means that the real campaign is taking place behind the scenes now.

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This post is part of our South Jersey Politics Blog

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