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In GOP Senate Race, Tea Party Wins Bid to Go Against former Gov. Codey

McKeon and Jasey fend off challenger in Democratic Assembly race.

Sen. Richard Codey's challenger in the 27th District will be a Morris County Tea Party candidate, according to Tuesday's unofficial primary election results.

Voters selected William Eames of Whippany, co-founder of the Morris Patriots, over Essex Fells Councilman William Sullivan, according to election results.

For Assembly, Democratic Assemblymen JohnMcKeon and Assemblywoman Mia Jasey fended off a primary challenger. The incumbents will face a Livingston lawyer and the Chatham Township mayor in the November election.

“We look forward to a vigorous debate on the issues in the fall," Jasey said.

In another contested primary, Livingston resident Patricia Sebold was selected to run for re-election for Essex County freeholder-at-large in November.

In the Republican Senate race, Sullivan won Essex County but lost the primary in the newly aligned 27th district, which now stretches from Livingston and the West Essex suburbs into Morris County. Eames won 53 percent of the vote with 94 percent of precincts reporting,

Codey (D-Roseland), the longtime incumbent and former governor, was uncontested in the primary. While the 27th District still leans Democratic, Codey said he’s not taking his re-election bid lightly.

"I'm going to campaign. I've been campaigning and I'm not going to stop until November,” Codey said.

His challenger is a former executive director of local chambers of commerce and a resident of Whippany for nearly 30 years. Eames is co-founder of the Morris Patriots, a Tea Party organization, and coordinator of Grassroots-NJ.

"Bill Sullivan called William Eames and wished him luck and pledged his support," said a campaign spokesman for the Essex Republican Party. "He looks forward to a spirited fall campaign to unseat Dick Codey."

Meanwhile, for state Assembly, Ellen Steinberg, a former mayor of Millburn, challenged McKeon and Jasey.

Steinberg said she was glad she gave it a try. The experience was overwhelmingly positive, she said.

"I'm very glad we did this," said Steinberg, who lives in Short Hills. "The whole campaign was about standing up. People don't just get anointed. It's important that we have challenges within the system. It shouldn't just be a 'gimme.' I still believe we need people who are going to challenge Christie."

Jasey, of South Orange, received 42 percent of the vote; McKeon, of West Orange, won 39 percent, with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

Holtzman, a property tax attorney, and Chatham Township Mayor Nicole Hagner will go up against the incumbents.

Heading into the fall election, Jasey said she and McKeon were “excited and encouraged by the broad level of support in our new district." Primary turnout is traditionally low and the incumbents were not sure how the numbers would play out in Morris County.  “We thank everyone who came out and supported us,” Jasey said.

In the Freeholders race, Sebold and the slate of Democratic incumbents easily won re-election.

Sebold has served as a freeholder since 1993. She’s a retired teacher who taught English at West Orange High School. She served on the Essex County Vocational Schools Board of Education, as a Commissioner on the Essex County Board of Elections, and has been chairperson of the Livingston Democratic Municipal Committee for the past 35 years.

The redrawn 27th District includes the Morris County municipalities of Chatham Township, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover Township, Harding Township, and Madison. Essex County municipalities include Caldwell, Essex Fells, , Maplewood, Millburn, Roseland, South Orange and West Orange.

(Updated 6/8/2011, 12:54 p.m.)

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