The number of Hispanics that will serve in the State Assembly, currently nine, could drop by one-third next year with the death of Eric Munoz (R-Summit) and the retirements of Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden) and Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy). A fourth Hispanic legislator, Matthew Milam (D-Vineland) is considered the most vulnerable incumbent in the November 2009 general election. Munoz and Vas are not expected to be replaced by Hispanics.
Munoz’s death leaves the GOP without any Hispanic elected officials above the municipal level. The lone African American Republican elected official above the municipal level, Burlington County Freeholder Aubrey Fenton, was defeated for re-election last year.
There is only one Hispanic in the State Senate, Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark).