(TRENTON) – Assembly Women & Children Committee Chairwoman Pamela Lampitt and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman on Thursday praised the U.S. District Court decision that declared that the residency requirement in the debate over Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester)’s election was unconstitutional.
The District court rejected a previous decision by the state Supreme Court in the challenge to Mosquera’s 2011 election, where she overwhelmingly defeated her Republican opponent.
“The District Court’s decision is clear, rejecting a partisan sour-grapes effort to prevent Assemblywoman Mosquera from being seated, despite her overwhelming victory in November 2011.” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “The courts and the people of the 4th legislative district have spoken–vindicating Assemblywoman Mosquera’s qualification and election despite a partisan lawsuit. Having been decisively and duly elected in 2011, Assemblywoman Mosquera is laser-focused on fighting for the middle-class. It is a shame that a partisan lawsuit and partisan court decisions have caused the 4th district to hold an unnecessary election this November.”
“The only leverage that Assemblywoman Mosquera’s opponents had was the state Supreme Court decision that her residency was invalid. Today a federal court judge declared that was not the case,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “I think it’s time for her opponents to accept defeat and allow Assemblywoman Mosquera to focus on the needs of the people who overwhelmingly elected her to office. The taxpayers should not have to incur the cost of an unnecessary election, but unfortunately, partisan concerns mean they will have to foot the bill for it anyway.”
After the 2011 redistricting process and the ensuing legislative elections, Mosquera’s election was challenged by the losing candidate, who claimed Mosquera’s election was invalid because she had moved into the newly-configured district 10 months before the election. Despite a 10-year old federal precedent declaring the residency requirement unconstitutional in the election immediately following redistricting, state courts permitted Mosquera to be seated but required her to run in a special election in 2012.
Earlier this week, the United States District Court held that the failure to follow the federal court order was not proper.
The following Assembly Democratic women joined Lampitt and Watson Coleman’s call: