WOODBRIDGE – On first ballot,Woodbridge attorney Craig Coughlinhas won the three-way race for the backing of the party to run in the 19th Legislative District, Middlesex County Democratic Committee Chairman Joe Spicuzzo just told the crowd at the Forge Manor.
The final vote tally: 170 votes for Coughlin; 77 for Mathias Rodriguez, and 25 for Jean Pierce.
“I was very fortunate to win,” Coughlin told the crowd.
His running mate, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), and LD 19 state Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge) towered over him at the front of the room.
“I’m trying to break the barrier and prove you don’t need to be 6 ft. 4 to represent this district,” Coughlin said.
South Amboy Mayor John T. O’Leary cracked a smile as he applauded in the back of the banquet hall. Coughlin was the man the6 ft. 5 mayor from the south side of the bay had supportedto be his successor when rolling negative headlines proved too big a burden tohis owncandidacy here in the 19th.
“I hope to have your vote and to those of you who didn’t support me, I hope we can be friends,” Coughlin said. “Thank you all for coming out tonight. Let’s have a big Democratic victory in November.”
Wisniewski and Coughlin are set to face Republican real estate broker Richard Piatkowski of Perth Amboy and Republican businessman Peter Kothari of Woodbridge in the general election.