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Legislative District 4

Michael Daigle | October 21, 2011

Seven candidates, three seats in both houses, and one of the few split districts in NJ make the 4th one to watch.

The 4th District in Camden and Gloucester counties pits a team of politically experienced Democrats against a Republican group of community activists with a touch of local government experience.

The district is heavily Democratic, with Democrats having 57,663 registered voters for the June primary, compared with 22,996 registered Republicans. There were 64,182 unaffiliated voters.

Still, the GOP has proven it can win there: The 4th is one of those rare split districts in New Jersey, currently represented by a Democrat in the Senate and one Democrat and one Republican in the Assembly.

All in all, this is one of the busiest races in the state this year, with seven candidates running for three seats in both houses.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Fred Madden is a former acting director of the New Jersey State Police, a post he left in 2003 when he ran for state Senate. He is being challenged by Republican Giancarlo D'Orazio, a former information technology professional and business manager. He now owns a gelato shop.

The Assembly race has incumbent Democrat Paul D. Moriarty, in office since 2006, running with newcomer Gabriela Mosquera, the chief of staff for Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer.

The Republicans have nominated Shelley Lovett, a two-time Gloucester Township Councilwoman, who lost to Madden for the Senate seat in 2007, and Patricia Fratticcioli, a member of the Monroe Township parks and recreation committee and the Monroe Township Republican Club Ladies Auxiliary.

Independent candidate Tony Celeste, a service manager at a car dealership, is running under the banner of "Family, Freedom, Community."

The second Assembly seat opened in the Fourth District when Republican incumbent Domenick DiCicco found himself shifted to the Third Legislative District in the spring redistricting.

Madden is chairman of the Assembly Labor Committee and serves on the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee. He has sponsored laws that help seniors pay their property taxes and give breaks to military personnel and their families. He supported the 2 percent state tax levy cap. He also raised the ire of the National Rifle Association when he voted in favor of a bill to limit gun sales to one purchase a month.

D'Orazio, and his fellow Republicans have adopted the mantra of returning "accountability, transparency and responsibility" to Trenton.The Senate candidate said he would use tax breaks and end "harmful legislation" to attract business to the state. He promised to bring a "private sector mentality" to state government.

Mosquera, who right from college went to work for Democratic politicians, seeks more school and municipal aid for district towns, supports expanded job training programs and lower property taxes for seniors and other property taxpayers.

Republicans Lovett and Fratticcioli want level school funding, saying that district municipalities have been shortchanged. They both seek lower business taxes and less regulation to help attract businesses.

Celeste is calling for an end to red tape that hampers business growth and favors school choice and level spending for public education. He does not support anti-sprawl efforts, calling them an affront to freedom.

Michael Daigle is a freelance writer and journalist from Phillipsburg. He has worked for newspapers in Massachusetts, Maine, and for the past 20 years, in New Jersey. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting on housing policy, politics, environmental issues and as a columnist.

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