GOP picks up one Assembly seat; Democrats will control lower house 47-33

Republicans picked up one State Assembly seat, in the fourth district. Domenick DeCicco captured the open seat of retiring Assemblywoman Sandra Love. DeCicco won by 1,021 votes over Democrat Bill Collins. That sets up a possible 2011 Senate race between DeCicco and Democratic incumbent Frederick Madden, or if Madden doesn't seek re-election, against Democratic Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.

The Republican challenger who came the closest to ousting a Democratic incumbent was in District 3, where Dr. Robert Villare lost to Assemblywoman Celeste Riley by 1,021 votes. State Republicans wrote off Villare after the two candidates they backed in the primary lost. In District 22, former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks came within 1,857 votes of ousting Assemblyman Gerald Green.

Democrats won handily in two districts where the Republicans thought they had the best chance. In District 1, Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam beat Republicans Michael Donohue and John McCann. Donohue trailed Milam by 2,045 votes, and McCann lost to Albano by 5,469 votes. In District 36, Frederick Scalera and Gary Schaer won by nearly 5,000 votes.

The biggest surprise came in District 18, where Republican Joseph Sinagra, a former Helmetta Councilman and frequent candidate, lost to Democratic Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan by a relatively close 2,202 votes. GOP picks up one Assembly seat; Democrats will control lower house 47-33