District 18 encompasses seven communities in Middlesex County: East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Highland Park, Metuchen, South Plainfield and South River.
This has been considered a safe Democratic district, with 40 percent of voters registered as Democrats and only 14 percent Republicans. Virtually all of the other voters in the district are unaffiliated. But with Democratic Sen. Barbara Buono’s decision to run for governor leaving her seat vacant, the GOP is trying to score a win.
Hoping to replace Buono in the Senate is Democratic Assemblyman Peter Barnes, an Edison lawyer who has been in office since 2007. Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr., a South Plainfield attorney finishing his sixth term, is seeking re-election on the Democratic ticket. Running with them for the Assembly is East Brunswick Councilwoman Nancy Pinkin.
The GOP is hoping that David Stahl, the mayor of East Brunswick who was a Democrat until earlier this year, will move the Senate seat to their side. Seeking seats in the Assembly are Robert Bengivenga, a South Plainfield councilman who works in sales and marketing management, and Lisa Goldhamer of Edison, who is working in a retail job after losing her job in financial services.
One independent is seeking an Assembly seat: Sheila Angalet, of Edison, who is an administrative assistant and customer service representative.
For more about the candidates, visit their websites: