District 10, in northern Ocean County, is heavily Republican, but the Democrats are optimistic that they will pull ahead in the upcoming election.
Although the Democratic redistricting map voted in last spring revamped surrounding districts, the 10th, whose largest municipality is Toms River, was not dramatically altered—in terms of competition or minority representation—even though some towns were moved in and out.
In total, District 10 lost two municipalities in the redistricting shuffle, picking up Lakehurst and Manchester, previously in District 9, in exchange for Seaside Park and South Toms River. Manasquan and Point Pleasant moved to District 30.
In the Senate, there is no incumbent, but the long-time Republican assemblyman, James Holzapfel, is seeking to move to the upper house by besting a Democrat, Charles Tivanen.
Holzapfel, currently the Assembly Republican Parliamentarian, has been in office since 1994. Before that, he served as a prosecutor in Ocean County from 1987 to 1992. Tivanen, who owns and operates his own law practice in Brick, lost to Republican incumbents Holzapfel and David Wolfe as a Democratic candidate in the 2009 District 10 Assembly elections.
Despite a string of losses in past elections, the Ocean County Democrats are hopeful this year, according to Marta Harrison, vice chair of the party.
"The Republicans running are those who have made their livings off the taxpayers' money," she said. "We have candidates who are running because they're not career politicians, and I think the voters are amenable to that message."
With Assemblyman Holzapfel seeking to move up to the Senate, the Assembly race features three candidates seeking their first political office -- Democrats Eli L. Eytan and Bette Wary and Republican Gregory P. McGuckin -- as well as 20-year incumbent Republican David Wolfe.
Wolfe works as a professor at Ocean County College and is Deputy Republican Leader of the Assembly. McGuckin is an attorney who has served as the Toms River Council President since 2004.
Eytan, an attorney, also lost in the 2009 District 10 Assembly elections to Holzapfel and Wolfe. He and Tivanen are both hoping for a comeback, but this time they will not be bracketed together. Wary, who is retired, has never run for Assembly.
Wolfe is confident that the Republicans will pull through in the upcoming election.
"Ocean County is traditionally Republican," Wolfe said. "And we've got a record that shows we've been very responsive to our constituents."