Michael Ferguson’s House seat has been held by Republicans since 1956, when Assemblywoman Florence Dwyer unseated incumbent Harrison Williams. Williams won a 1953 special election after the five-term incumbent, Republican Clifford Case, resigned to become President of The Fund for the Republic. Dwyer spent sixteen years in Congress, retiring in 1972. She was replaced by Republican State Senator Matthew Rinaldo, who served until his retirement in 1992. Rinaldo’s successor was Robert Franks, a State Assemblyman and Republican State Chairman, who served four terms before running for the United States Senate in 2000. Case and Williams won open U.S. Senate seats after leaving Congress. Case won in 1954, narrowly defeating Democratic Congressman Charles Howell. Williams was elected in 1958, defeating GOP Congressman Robert Kean, the grandfather of U.S. Senate candidate Thomas Kean, Jr.