New Jersey Senate

Last updated

New Jersey Senate
New Jersey Legislature
Seal of New Jersey.svg
Term limits
New session started
January 9, 2018
Stephen M. Sweeney (D)
since January 12, 2010
Loretta Weinberg (D)
since January 10, 2012
Teresa Ruiz (D)
since January 9, 2018
Deputy Majority Leader
Paul Sarlo (D)
since January 8, 2008
Thomas Kean, Jr. (R)
since January 8, 2008
New Jersey Senate 2020.svg
Political groups
  •   Democratic (25)


Length of term
4 years (with one two-year term each decade)
AuthorityArticle IV, New Jersey Constitution
Last election
November 7, 2017
(40 seats)
Next election
November 2, 2021
(40 seats)
Redistricting New Jersey Apportionment Commission
Meeting place
New Jersey State Senate in action, June 2013.JPG
State Senate Chamber
New Jersey State House
Trenton, New Jersey
New Jersey State Legislature

The New Jersey Senate was established as the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature by the Constitution of 1844, replacing the Legislative Council. There are 40 legislative districts, representing districts with average populations of 210,359 (2000 figure). Each district has one senator and two members of the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the legislature. Prior to the election in which they are chosen, senators must be a minimum of 30 years old and a resident of the state for four years to be eligible to serve in office. [1]


From 1844 until 1965 (when redistricting could be done following the Reynolds v. Sims decision), each county was an electoral district electing one senator. Under the 1844 Constitution the term of office was three years, which was changed to four years with the 1947 Constitution. Since 1968 the Senate has consisted of 40 senators, who are elected in a "2-4-4" cycle. Senators serve a two-year term at the beginning of each decade, with the rest of the decade divided into two four-year terms. The "2-4-4" cycle was put into place so that Senate elections can reflect the changes made to the district boundaries on the basis of the decennial United States Census. [1] If the cycle were not put into place, then the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date. Thus elections for Senate seats take place in years ending with a "1", "3" or "7" (i.e. next elections in 2021, 2023 and 2027).

Interim appointments are made to fill vacant legislative seats by the county committee or committees of the party of the vacating person (since a constitutional amendment passed on November 8, 1988). The office is on the ballot for the next general election, even if the other Senate seats are not up for election in that year (such as in years ending with a "5" or "9", such as 2009 or 2015). The sole exception to this is if the vacancy occurred within 51 days of the election, in which case the appointment stands until the following general election. [2]

Senatorial courtesy

Senatorial courtesy is a senate tradition that allows home county legislators to intercede to prevent consideration of a local resident nominated by the Governor for a position that requires Senate confirmation. [3] Any of the senators from the nominee's home county can invoke senatorial courtesy to block a nomination, temporarily or permanently, without any obligation to justify the basis of their actions. [4]

Governor Corzine nominated Stuart Rabner on June 4, 2007, to be the next Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, replacing James R. Zazzali, who was nearing mandatory retirement age. [5] Shortly after the nomination, two members of the Senate from Essex County, where Rabner resides, blocked consideration of his confirmation by invoking senatorial courtesy. State Senator Ronald Rice had initially blocked the nomination, but relented on June 15, 2007, after a meeting with the governor. [6] Nia Gill dropped her block on June 19, 2007, but did not explain the nature of her concerns, though anonymous lawmakers cited in The New York Times indicated that the objection was due to Rabner's race and Governor Corzine's failure to consider a minority candidate for the post. [3]

Also in June 2007, Loretta Weinberg used senatorial courtesy privileges to hold up consideration of a new term in office for Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli. [4]

Acting governor

Until 2010, in the event of a gubernatorial vacancy, the New Jersey Constitution had specified that the President of the Senate (followed by the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly) would assume the role of Acting Governor and retain their role in the Senate (or Assembly). An Acting Governor would then assume the governorship while retaining the reins of power in their house of the legislature.[ citation needed ]

The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey took office for the first time on January 19, 2010, following conjoint election with the Governor of New Jersey. The position was created as the result of a Constitutional amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution passed by the voters on November 8, 2005. While the amendment itself took effect as of January 17, 2006, and made some interim changes to the succession to the governorship, the first lieutenant governor was not elected until November 3, 2009.


(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
2016-2017 legislature2416400
2018-2019 legislature2515400
January 28, 2019 [7] [8] 2614400
September 16, 2019 [9] [10] 2515400
Latest voting share

List of state senators

Members of the New Jersey Senate for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are:
Democratic senator
Republican senator NJ State Senate composition 2018.svg
Members of the New Jersey Senate for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are:
  Democratic senator
  Republican senator

Committees and committee chairs

Committee chairs for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are: [12]

List of past Senate Presidents

The following is a list of past Presidents of the New Jersey Senate since the adoption of the 1844 State Constitution: [13]

Past composition

Related Research Articles

Passaic County, New Jersey County in New Jersey

Passaic County is a county in the U.S. state of New Jersey that is part of the New York metropolitan area.

Richard Codey Member of the New Jersey Senate and Former Governor of New Jersey

Richard James Codey is an American Democratic Party politician who served as the 53rd Governor of New Jersey from 2004 to 2006. He has served in the New Jersey Senate since 1982 and served as the President of the Senate from 2002 to 2010. He represents the 27th Legislative District, which covers the western portions of Essex County and the southeastern portion of Morris County. Codey is the longest-serving state legislator in New Jersey history, having served in the New Jersey Legislature continuously since January 8, 1974.

New Jersey General Assembly

The New Jersey General Assembly is the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature.

Nia Gill

Nia H. Gill is an American Democratic Party politician, who has been serving in the New Jersey State Senate since 2002, where she represents the 34th Legislative District. She ran unsuccessfully as a candidate in the June 2012 primary election to fill the seat in Congress left vacant by the death of Donald M. Payne, the former U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 10th congressional district. Gill was the State Senate President pro Tempore from 2010 to 2018, succeeded by M. Teresa Ruiz.

2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election

The 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election was a race to determine the Governor of New Jersey. It was held on November 8, 2005. Democratic Governor Richard Codey, who replaced Governor Jim McGreevey in 2004 after his resignation, did not run for election for a full term of office.

Loretta Weinberg

Loretta Weinberg is an American Democratic Party politician, who has served as a member of the New Jersey Senate since 2005, where she represents the 37th Legislative District. She currently serves as Senate Majority Leader. Weinberg served in the General Assembly before being selected to replace retiring Senator Byron Baer.

Gerald Cardinale American politician

Gerald Cardinale was an American Republican Party politician, who served in the New Jersey State Senate from 1982 until his death in 2021, representing the 39th Legislative District. He also served one term in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1980 until 1982. At the time of his death, he was the second-most senior senator in the state, behind Richard Codey, who also came to office in January 1982, but had served in the General Assembly since 1974. Cardinale was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1984, 1988 and 1992 and served as a Delegate to the New Jersey Republican State Platform Committee in 1983.

Robert W. Singer is an American Republican Party politician, who has been serving in the New Jersey State Senate since 1993, where he represents the 30th Legislative District. He was the Mayor of Lakewood Township, New Jersey in 2009. He is the fifth-most senior senator behind Ronald Rice, Raymond Lesniak, Gerald Cardinale, and Richard Codey.

Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey Elected US official

The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is an elected constitutional officer in the executive branch of the state government of New Jersey in the United States. The lieutenant governor is the second highest-ranking official in the state government and is elected concurrently on a ticket with the governor for a four-year term. Because the position itself does not carry any powers or duties other than to be next in the order of succession, the state constitution requires that the lieutenant governor be appointed to serve as the head of a cabinet-level department or administrative agency within the governor's administration.

Stuart Jeff Rabner is the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He served as New Jersey Attorney General, Chief Counsel to Governor Jon Corzine, and as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.

Elections in New Jersey Overview of the procedure of elections in the U.S. state of New Jersey

Elections in New Jersey are authorized under Article II of the New Jersey State Constitution, which establishes elections for the governor, the lieutenant governor, and members of the New Jersey Legislature. Elections are regulated under state law, Title 19. The office of the New Jersey Secretary of State has a Division of Elections that oversees the execution of elections under state law. In addition, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) is responsible for administering campaign financing and lobbying disclosure.

2008 United States House of Representatives elections in New Jersey

The 2008 congressional elections in New Jersey were held on November 4, 2008 to determine who would represent the state of New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives. New Jersey has thirteen seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms; those elected serve din the 111th Congress from January 4, 2009 until January 3, 2011. The election coincided with the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

2009 New Jersey elections

The following offices were up for election in the United States State of New Jersey in the general election on November 3, 2009:

The Vice-President of Council of the New Jersey Legislature would succeed the Governor if a vacancy occurred in that office.

New Jersey Legislative Council

The New Jersey Legislative Council was the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature under the New Jersey Constitution of 1776 until it was replaced by the New Jersey Senate under the Constitution of 1844.

Senatorial courtesy is an unwritten rule practiced in the Senate of the U.S. state of New Jersey under which a State Senator can indefinitely block consideration of a nomination by the Governor of New Jersey for a gubernatorial nominee from the Senator's home county, without being required to provide an explanation. While the practice is infrequently invoked, it has brought calls for legislation that would forbid its use.

The 1973 New Jersey State Senate Senate elections coincided with Brendan Byrne's victory in the gubernatorial election. Byrne's large margin of victory over Republican Charles W. Sandman, Jr.—he won by 721,378 votes (66.4%-31.1%) helped Democrats gain 13 seats in the State Senate, giving Democrats control, 29-10, with one Independent. Republicans were also not helped by a divisive primary that saw the incumbent, William Cahill, a moderate, lose to the more conservative Sandman. Cahill barely supported Sandman in the general election. This election marked the first time since 1967 that Democrats controlled the State Senate.

1977 New Jersey State Senate election

The 1977 New Jersey State Senate election coincided with Brendan Byrne's re-election to a second term as Governor of New Jersey.

The 1971 New Jersey State Senate Elections was the mid-term election of Republican William Cahill's term as Governor of New Jersey. Democrats picked up nine Senate seats. Sixteen incumbents did not seek re-election.

Kristin Corrado is an American Republican Party politician who represents the 40th Legislative District in the New Jersey Senate. She was sworn into office on October 5, 2017. Before her appointment to the New Jersey Senate she served a Passaic County Clerk for seven years.


  1. 1 2 Our Legislature, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 10, 2018. "Legislative elections are held in November of each odd-numbered year. Members of the Assembly serve two-year terms. Senators serve four-year terms, except for the first term of a new decade, which is only two years. This '2-4-4' cycle allows for elections from new districts as soon as possible after each reapportionment."
  2. New Jersey Constitution Archived June 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine , New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 10, 2018. "Any vacancy in the Legislature occasioned otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled by election for the unexpired term only at the next general election occurring not less than 51 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, except that no vacancy shall be filled at the general election which immediately precedes the expiration of the term in which the vacancy occurs. For the interim period pending the election and qualification of a successor to fill the vacancy, or for the remainder of the term in the case of a vacancy occurring which cannot be filled pursuant to the terms of this paragraph at a general election, the vacancy shall be filled within 35 days by the members of the county committee of the political party of which the incumbent was the nominee from the municipalities or districts or units thereof which comprise the legislative district. Article IV, Section IV, paragraph 1 amended effective December 8, 1988."
  3. 1 2 Jones, Richard G. "Senator Drops Objections to Corzine Court Nominee", The New York Times , June 20, 2007. Accessed June 20, 2007. "Senator Gill had delayed Mr. Rabner's confirmation hearing by using "senatorial courtesy" — an obscure practice through which senators who represent the home county of nominees may block consideration of their confirmations."
  4. 1 2 Carmiel, Oshrat. "Deadline looms for Molinelli's job", The Record (Bergen County) , June 20, 2007. Accessed June 20, 2007. "Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli, whose term expired last month, may have to wait until the fall to be considered again for a second term if state Sen. Loretta Weinberg doesn't sign off on his nomination today.... Weinberg is invoking an unwritten practice called senatorial courtesy, which allows state senators to block consideration of gubernatorial nominees from their home counties without explanation. The courtesy tradition, as applied to Molinelli, requires each senator from Bergen County to sign off on his nomination before the Judiciary Committee can consider the nomination."
  5. "Source: Corzine picks Rabner as chief justice, Milgram as AG" [ permanent dead link ], Courier News , May 31, 2007. Accessed May 31, 2007.
  6. Associated Press. "Opposition Ebbs on Corzine Judge", The New York Times , June 15, 2007. Accessed June 20, 2007. "Ronald L. Rice, an Essex County Democrat and state senator, said yesterday that he would no longer block Gov. Jon S. Corzine's nomination for chief justice of the State Supreme Court."
  7. Dawn Addiego (8th) changed party affiliation from Republican to Democratic.
  8. Levinsky, David. "Burlington County Times".
  9. Anthony Bucco (25th) died.
  10. "State Sen. Tony Bucco Dead At 81". Morristown, NJ Patch. September 17, 2019.
  11. Legislative Roster 2018-2019 Session, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 10, 2018.
  12. New Jersey Legislature Committees and Membership 2018-2019 Legislative Session - Senate Committees, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed February 5, 2018.
  13. Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey. J.A. Fitzgerald. 1977.

Coordinates: 40°13′07″N74°45′51″W / 40.21869°N 74.76429°W / 40.21869; -74.76429