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Zwicker announces bid for State Senate; Fistonich seeks Assembly seat

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker announced the kickoff of his campaign to run for the State Senate in the 16th Legislative District (LD16).

Zwicker, who has served in the NJ General Assembly since 2016 and is a physicist and science educator, released the following statement on Feb. 3:

“Now, more than ever, we need to make decisions that are based on evidence and continue to create sensible, practical policies to improve the lives of all New Jerseyans. During my time in the General Assembly, I have focused on protecting our environment, growing our economy, and guaranteeing every voter’s ability to participate in safe and fair elections. I have been laser-focused on advocating for my constituents and I hope to bring my expertise and experience to the State Senate to continue fighting for the people in my district and throughout our great state.”

The 16th Legislative District consists of towns within Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties, including Princeton, South Brunswick, Hillsborough and Montgomery.

Zwicker first gained attention in 2015 when he ousted an incumbent Republican member of the Assembly in a 78-vote victory to become the first Democrat elected in the history of the 16th Legislative District, according to the statement.

In 2017, Zwicker helped elect Democratic Assemblyman Roy Freiman of Somerset.

“Assemblyman Zwicker has not only been a staunch advocate for the people of South Brunswick in Trenton but has been an invaluable member of our community here in South Brunswick,” Mayor Charlie Carley of South Brunswick said in the statement. “Our communities, now more than ever, need leaders with experience in the state legislature who are as dedicated to moving sound policy as they are to the people they serve.”

“In 2015 we began our work laying the groundwork to bring Democratic representation to the 16th Legislative District for the first time in history,” Khalid Anjum, chairman of the South Brunswick Municipal Democratic Committee, said in the statement. “Assemblyman Zwicker broke through the Republican stranglehold on the district in 2015 for the Assembly. Now he is the best choice to be the first Democrat to represent the people of South Brunswick and the 16th in the New Jersey State Senate.”

Kevin P. McCabe, chair of the Middlesex County Democrats, called Zwickerthoughtful, inclusive and proactive.”

“A scientist who has dedicated his career to improving the quality of life for our residents, his contributions to New Jersey have already made a difference for our state in the years he has served in the Legislature. From leading the way in making New Jersey more affordable for our families and small businesses, to fighting for a cleaner and greener environment, Andrew has epitomized how important it is to have a scientist in the Legislature. I am proud to endorse him for State Senate and look forward to working hard to ensure that he wins this November’s election. This is why local leaders have reached out to me to support Andrew’s candidacy for Senate. I look forward to hearing from Andrew and all other candidates running for the legislature at our county screening in March,” McCabe said in the statement.

Mercer County has not yet formally taken a position on a candidate to endorse but is in its review process.

“Andrew certainly is regarded as a highly competent and outspoken advocate for the constituents of the 16th District, and would be a strong candidate,” Janice Mironov, chair of the Mercer County Democrats and mayor of East Windsor, said in the statement. “From championing effective pro-environment policies to election reform in New Jersey, he has a solid record of service and proven his ability to address some of the most complex, pressing issues in the legislature with a thoughtful well-balanced approach.”

Zwicker is currently the chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, as well as a member of the Higher Education Committee, and the Regulated Professions Committee. He serves on the Manufacturing Caucus and the Disability Caucus and was the vice chair of the Biotechnology Task Force.

He is currently the head of the Communications and Public Outreach Department at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory and has a Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University.

For more information on Zwicker’s campaign, visit www.zwickerforsenate.org


Chris Fistonich, PhD immunologist, cybersecurity analyst, opera singer and activist, announced his candidacy for New Jersey’s 16th Assembly District.

Fistonich, 30, received his PhD in Immunobiology from Yale University, and would be the youngest member of the New Jersey General Assembly if elected, according to information provided by his campaign on Jan. 29.

The Princeton resident currently teaches microbiology at Rowan University and immunology at Caldwell University. Concurrently, he works as a cyber threat analyst for Malwarebytes and has done so for over a decade.

“Central New Jersey has a longstanding history of electing scientists to public office, including former Congressman Rush Holt and current Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker. I hope to continue that tradition, as having scientists in office is critical to creating a data-driven approach to a range of policies from combating the pandemic to voting reform, immigration, and affordability,” he said in the statement.

Fistonich credits his upbringing and his parents, who immigrated to the United States several decades ago, for his ambition and work ethic.

“I am a son of immigrants. As a first generation Croatian-American whose parents left everything behind to create a new life in America, I reflect on all of the opportunities afforded to me every time I work to accomplish something new. I recognize that many are denied those same opportunities and plan to make equity a focus of this campaign. I hope to make my parents proud,” he said in the statement.

Fistonich co-leads an online organization, VoteDEM, which since 2018 has raised nearly two million dollars to help elect Democratic candidates at the federal, state, and local level. He is serving his third term on the Princeton Community Democratic Organization’s Executive Board, and was elected to the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee in 2020.

“With a short learning curve, a thirst for knowledge, and an analytical mindset, I have the background and drive needed to make a substantial difference in the Assembly. I am passionate about expanding the range of voices heard in our political process, and I aim to increase voter engagement and turnout beginning with this election. I want to instill the fact that what our government does at the state level is often even more important to our daily lives than what goes on in Washington, D.C. It would be a great privilege to serve the needs of New Jersey District 16,” he said in the statement.

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