Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Sheriff Armando Fontoura will introduce their slate of 29th district legislative candidates at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The three are expected to back Teresa Ruiz, the 32-year-old Essex Democratic Vice Chairwoman, as their Senate candidate, and former Assemblyman Albert Couhtino and former Assistant Newark Corporation Counsel Grace Spencer for the Assembly.
Assemblymen William Payne and Wilfredo Caraballo will not be part of the ticket.
The incumbent Senator, Sharpe James, has not yet announced if he will seek re-election to a fourth term. James was Mayor of Newark from 1986 until his retirement last year. Payne, 74, the brother of Congressman Donald Payne, has been actively seeking support for the Senate. Caraballo lost the support of Essex Democrats — most specifically North Ward Democratic leader Stephen Adubato, Sr. — after bucking the county legislative delegation and Governor Jon Corzine during the 2006 budget process.
Couhtino, who is active in the East Ward Portuguese community, spent six months in Trenton in 1997 after winning a Special Election Convention to replace convicted Assemblyman Jackie Mattison. The 36-year-old Spencer, a former Assistant Newark Corporation Counsel, Newark Special Prosecutor, and aide to the City Council President, was Deputy Campaign Manager for Booker's campaign for Mayor.