Assemblyman Mims Hackett says he will resign his seat in the New Jersey State Assembly and will withdraw his bid for re-election to a fourth term. His announcement comes two days after his arrest in bribery charges, and one day after state Democratic leaders asked him to step down.
He will remain as the Mayor of Orange.
Members of the Essex County Democratic Committee from the 27th district will meet to hold two contests: a special election convention to fill the remaining four months of Hackett's current Assembly term, and to nominate a new candidate to run in the November general election. While they could pick separate candidates in each race, Democrats are expected to give their candidate the advantage of incumbency.
The main player in the candidate selection process is Senate President Richard Codey, who also represents the 27th district. Democratic insiders have suggested that Codey alone will decide who gets Hackett's seat.
Possible candidates include: Phil Alagia, the Chief of Staff to the Essex County Executive and one of North Jersey's best campaign operatives; Essex County Freeholders Linda Lordi-Cavanaugh and Patricia Sebold (who both lost to Hackett, narrowly, in the 2001 primary), Caldwell Mayor Susan Gartland; Livingston Mayor Steven Santola, mental health advocate Bob Davidson; Maplewood Mayor Fred Profetta; and Stacey Jennings and Terriann Moore-Abrams, both South Orange Village Trustees. Jennings and Moore-Abrams are African-American women.
Hackett's resignation is bad news for Republican Mark Meyerowitz, a 52-year-old political newcomer who may have stood a chance in this Democratic-leaning suburban district against Hackett.