Legislative District 15

Patience Haggin | October 11, 2011
Redistricting the 15th hasn't changed the Democratic incumbents, though one moved house to remain on the ballot

A redrawn map hasn’t changed the slate of Democratic incumbents in the 15th District. When Assemblyman Reed Gusciora found himself disqualified for his seat after his hometown of Princeton was redistricted out of the 15th, he picked up and moved to Trenton to run for his spot again.

That’s probably a smart move in 15th, which is home to Trenton and large numbers of state workers. Gusciora and his two fellow Democrats all voted against last spring’s overhaul of public benefits, a move that went down well in a district where outrage over the measure is strongest.

Incumbent Sen. Shirley Turner, of Lawrenceville, has been has been particularly outspoken against the overhaul. A career advisor at Rider University, she’s held office since 1998, served as President Pro Tempore from 2004 to 2010, and won reelection in 2007 with 61 percent of the vote.

Her challenger is Republican Donald Cox, a financial advisor and former Ewing Township Councilman. Cox served on the council from 2006 to 2010.

Assembly incumbents Gusciora and Bonnie Watson, of Ewing, are also facing Republican challengers: Peter Yull, of Trenton, a retired credit manager for the state Department of Transportation, and Kathy Kilcommons, of Lawrenceville, who works at a law firm.

Gusciora has been in office since 1996 and won 57 percent of the vote in 2009. Coleman has held her seat since 1998, winning re-election with 58 percent of the votes in 2009.

Gusciora, an attorney, is currently vice-chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee and a member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Coleman chaired the New Jersey Democratic State Committee form 2004 to 2006 and was the majority leader of the Assembly from 2006 to 2010. She is a certified public manager.

Redistricting replaced Princeton with West Windsor. Both communities are traditionally Democratic strongholds. According to registration figures from the June primary, the new 15th is 40 percent Democratic and 14 percent Republican. The rest are unaffiliated.