New Jersey’s 1st Legislative District is the southernmost in the state, covering Cape May and parts of Atlantic (Corbin, Estell Manor and Weymouth) and Cumberland (Commercial, Downe, Fairfield, Greenwich, Hopewell, Lawrence, Maurice River, Millville, Shiloh, Stow Creek and Vineland) counties.
This is the only district in the state that Republicans flipped two years ago during the last legislative elections. It had been represented by Democrats despite having more registered Republicans. Now it is solidly red. Voter registration has also grown more Republican. About a third of registered voters are Republicans, outnumbering Democrats by about 5,000, but unaffiliated voters outnumber all, comprising about 35% of registrants.
The Republican Assembly incumbents are Erik Simonsen, director of athletics at Lower Cape May Regional School District and former mayor of Lower Township, and Antwan McClellan, who works for the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office and is a former Ocean City councilman. The Democratic candidates are John Capizola Jr., a small-business owner and physical education teacher from Vineland and Julia L. Hankerson, a psychotherapist from Woodbine who replaced the Democrats’ original nominee Chris Wilson. Two Libertarians also filed to run for Assembly: Michael Gallo of Villas and Jacob Selwood of Cedarville.