In the Essex County-based 28th district, former Assemblyman Craig Stanley (D-Irvington) is hoping to win back the seat he held for twelve years before losing the 2007 Democratic primary by 127 votes. The Essex Democratic organization is backing the incumbents, Ralph Caputo (D-Belleville) and Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark). The primary will test the political strength of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne's organization; Stanley is the nephew of Payne's brother, former Assemblyman William Payne. Caputo and Tucker are favored to win.
Caputo, who is also an Essex County Freeholder, was first elected to the State Assembly as a Republican in 1967. He served two terms, and returned to the Legislature after a 36-year absence. Tucker's late husband, Donald Tucker, was a longtime Newark City Councilman and Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore before his death just days before the 2005 election.