Donald Tucker’s replacement

Democrat Evelyn Williams easily won a Special Election Convention to replace the late Donald Tucker in the New Jersey State Assembly. The former Deputy Mayor under Sharpe James defeated Essex County Freeholder Ralph Caputo by a 73%-27% margin. Not that it matters, but Williams will enter the Legislature with some baggage: she was Newark School Board President when the state took over the city’s public schools — the reviews on her performance were rather negative — and she took some heat a few years ago when as an Essex County Corrections employee she signed out a inmate (a member of a drug ring) and took him to a concert. Williams becomes the first Newark woman to serve in the State Assembly in more than 25 years. Caputo was never a serious contender for the seat, but had he won, it would have marked his return to Trenton after a 33-year absence. Caputo was a 29-year-old Republican when he was elected to the State Assembly in 1967 — running on a countywide ticket that included future Governor Thomas Kean. He served two terms before losing his 1971 re-election bid, and made a political comeback as a Democrat in 2002 when he defeated an incumbent in a race for Freeholder. He was easily re-elected to a second term last week.

Donald Tucker’s replacement