Not a great year for women in New Jersey politics, according to report card
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with corrected information from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
It’s been a disappointing year for women in New Jersey politics.
According to the annual New Jersey County Report Card from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, women’s representation remains stalled in New Jersey counties.
Women made incremental gains as county commissioners and in municipal council offices, according to the report. But they lost ground as mayors in the state compared to 2021’s report card.
Union County continues at the top spot in the county rankings, followed by Middlesex and Somerset. These were the top three counties in 2021, as well with Middlesex moving ahead of Somerset this year.
Meanwhile, Salem County is this year’s lowest-ranked county for women’s representation in the state. Passaic dropped four spots between 2021 and 2022 from the 16th to the 20th position, and into the bottom three. Cape May was the third lowest-ranked county for women’s representation in politics.
“It’s discouraging to see such sluggish growth, and in some cases, contraction, for women’s representation in county and local offices in New Jersey,” said CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak.
The CAWP reported a gain of just two seats in county commissioner offices, meaning women now hold 36% of these seats statewide. That’s up from 35% in 2021.
Women hold the majority of commissioner seats in four counties: Somerset (60%), Bergen (57%), Middlesex (57%), and Union (56%).
The bottom-ranked county is Salem, where no women hold county commissioner seats.
Women gained a total of 26 seats on municipal councils. But with 3,109 such seats statewide, the women’s share of these municipal council offices remained unchanged.
The top-ranked county this year for women’s representation on municipal councils is Mercer, where women hold 44% of council seats. The bottom-ranked county this year is Cumberland where women hold just 15% of council seats.
The report also indicated that women lost ground as mayors, losing seven seats and falling from 18% in 2021 to 16.8% in 2022.
However, the top-ranked county this year for women’s representation in mayoral offices is Union, where women hold 38% of mayoral offices. At the bottom is Ocean and Passaic counties, with women holding just 6% of mayoralties.
A full list of rankings can be found here.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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School aid for all New Jersey districts for 2022-23