Newark City Councilman Luis Quintana is on his way to Trenton to file petitions to run in the general election for State Senate to represent the 29th District, according to incumbent Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo.
This sets up a potential three-way race in November for the open seat. Assemblyman William Payne has also indicated his intention to run as an independent, and would become the only African-American candidate in the race.
The Democratic nominee is expected to be Teresa Ruiz, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. She is unopposed in next week’s Democratic primary.
Caraballo a six-term incumbent, is in a dog-fight to keep his Assembly seat. He lost the support of the Essex County Democratic Organization — and his political mentor, North Ward powerhouse Stephen Adubato, Sr. – during last year’s state budget battle. He faces former Assemblyman Albert Couhinto and attorney Grace Spencer, who have the backing of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Adubato, and nearly every other party leader.
The incumbent, a Seton Hall Law Professor, is hopeful that Quintana’s decision to enter the Senate race will change the dynamic of his own primary.
“I anticipate that he will win in the North and East wards and be competitive in the rest of the district,” said Carballo.
The 29th district seat has been held since 1999 by Sharpe James, the former Mayor of Newark, who is not seeking re-election.