Mims Hackett's successor will become Richard Codey's eleventh running mate since Codey first went to Trenton as a 27-year-old Assemblyman in 1973. In that race, Codey was the newcomer on a slate that included Frank "Pat" Dodd, who won re-election to a second term in the State Senate (he became Senate President after Democrats took control in 1973, and freshman Assemblyman Eldridge Hawkins. When Hawkins unsuccessfully challenged Dodd in the 1977 Democratic primary (Tennis great Althea Gibson was the third candidate in that race), Mildred Barry Garvin, an East Orange school board member, went to the Assembly.
Codey moved up to the Senate when Dodd ran for Governor in 1981. Redistricting moved Harry McEnroe, who had won an Assembly seat in a neighboring district two years earlier, into Codey's district. In 1987, Essex Democrats replaced Garvin on the Democratic slate with Stephanie Bush.
After the 1991 legislative redistricting, McEnroe's hometown was moved to the 28th district, and Codey's new running mate became Robert Brown, the Mayor of Orange. Brown served one term and then mounted an unsuccesful challenge to Codey in the 1993 Democratic primary. Governor James Florio had appointed Bush as his Commissioner of Community Affairs; she was briefly replaced in the Assembly by East Orange Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge. Codey ran with Nia Gill, a Montclair Zoning Board member, and Essex County Freeholder LeRoy Jones.
Redistricting in 2001 moved Gill and Jones to the 34th district, where Gill won a Senate seat. Codey backed Hackett and West Orange Mayor John McKeon for the Assembly, and when Essex Democratic leaders gave the line to Freeholders Linda Lordi Cavanaugh and Patricia Sebold instead, Codey ran off the line with Hackett and McKeon and won.