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April 26, 2011

The newly drawn state legislative map has caused five assemblywomen -- almost 25 percent of those now serving -- to refrain from running for re-election, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics of Rutgers University.

Although 23 women are running for the Senate (10 incumbents, 12 challengers, and one open seat) and 50 women are running for Assembly (18 incumbents, 21 challengers and 11 open seats), the redrawn map has been especially harsh on Democratic assemblywomen, according to Debbie Walsh, director of the Center. "We’ve expanded women’s representation in the Garden State significantly in recent years, but that progress may now be slowed.”

Nevertheless, the number of female candidates is at a record 73 and Republicans are also well-represented by women in the coming campaign, even if Democrats still put more women up for election than the GOP. The Senate now has three Republican women and there are eight female Republican challengers. The Assembly has seven Republican incumbents with 12 Republican challengers and four Republican women running for open seats. Indeed, Walsh notes that there’s a good chance New Jersey will see its first all-female legislative delegation, since the 11th district is thought to be a safe Republican district with a ticket of Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande.

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