NJ Election 2020: 25th Legislative District

While New Jersey holds its state legislative elections during odd-numbered years, two unexpired terms are on the 2020 general election ballot, both in north Jersey’s 25th District.

The district encompasses 21 communities in Morris and Somerset counties: Bernardsville, Boonton Borough and Boonton Township, Chester Borough and Chester Township, Denville, Dover, Mendham Borough and Mendham Township, Mine Hill, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Randolph, Rockaway, Roxbury, Victory Gardens, Washington, and Wharton.

In what has long been a solidly Republican district, a third of voters are registered with the GOP, 30% as Democrats, and most of the rest are unaffiliated.

The death of Sen. Anthony R. Bucco last September led to Republican party conventions that chose his son, then-Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, to replace him in the Senate and Aura Dunn to replace the younger Bucco in the Assembly until this year’s general election.

Anthony M. Bucco is defending his Senate seat against Democrat Rupande Mehta, while Dunn is being challenged by Darcy Draeger, who lost an Assembly bid last year.

SENATE CANDIDATES

ANTHONY M. BUCCO: REPUBLICAN (incumbent)

Anthony M. Bucco is a lawyer, volunteer firefighter and former member of the Boonton Board of Education. A founding member of the adolescent substance abuse rehabilitation facility Daytop NJ in Mendham, Bucco got his law degree from Seton Hall University. He currently serves on the commerce, labor and law and public safety committees in the Senate. A father of six and grandfather of three, Bucco lives with his wife in Boonton Township.

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RUPANDE MEHTA: DEMOCRAT

Rupande Mehta is manager of strategic sourcing at Prudential Financial in Newark and founder of the SAR Foundation, which is working to end violence against women and girls. She received  a Master’s of public administration from Rutgers University — Newark and an MBA in economics from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. A former fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, Mehta interned in the office of then-Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno in 2016. She lives with her husband and daughter in Denville.

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ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES

AURA DUNN: REPUBLICAN (incumbent)

Dunn was the district director for former U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who retired from his 11th Congressional District seat in January 2019. Chosen for her current seat by Republican committee members last November, Dunn serves on the commerce and economic development, human services and women and children committees in the Assembly. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University. Dunn lives with her husband and three children in Mendham.

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DARCY DRAEGER: DEMOCRAT

Draeger is a former senior regulatory analyst with UBS Investment Bank who now operates a small family farm, Hedgerows Farm, where she lives with her family in Chester. She holds bachelor degrees in political science and journalism from Indiana University. In last year’s Assembly race, her first try at public office, Draeger finished fourth, just 2.3% behind the second-place finisher.

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