Run ATNJ! 2019

We at Action Together New Jersey are proud of all of our ATNJ members who have decided to run for public office. We’re rooting for them all, but whether they win or lose, their willingness to do the work and serve their communities is inspiring!

We’ll be adding new candidates as we get them, so follow along to see even more great ATNJ members running for office this year.


State Elections
Democratic Committee Elections
County Elections
Municipal Elections


State Elections

Lisa Bhimani

Assembly, Legislative District 25

Dr. Bhimani graduated from Brown University and received her M.D. from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. She was a practicing Ob/Gyn in Providence, RI, and at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ.

In 2017, Dr. Bhimani ran for State Senate in LD25. Incumbent Anthony Bucco Sr. narrowly held onto his seat with a 52-48% margin in a district that at the time had 9,332 more registered Republicans than Democrats.

Dr. Bhimani is a founding member of the Morris County Women’s Political Caucus and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Morris County Democratic Committee. She and her family have lived in Mendham Township for 14 years.

Christine Clarke

Assembly, Legislative District 26

Christine Clarke is an environmental advocate & mother-of-four running for Assembly to address climate change, tax relief and public health with a focus on renewable energy jobs. She is the chairwoman of the Jefferson Township Democratic Committee, a trained Climate Reality Leader, and a steering committee member of the Jersey Renews coalition. She was on the steering committees for the 2018 NJ March for Science and the 2018 NJ People’s Climate Movement rally in Morristown. She’s the former Environmental Director at Action Together New Jersey and created ATNJ Environment’s #ClimateVoter video series, hosting Facebook Live broadcasts with New Jersey members of Congress to talk about climate change and environmental policy. Christine organized grassroots calls to action, free public educational forums and live streamed events bringing people together around renewable energy and environmental conservation. She was an early organizer with NJ 11th For Change as well.

Darcy Draeger

Assembly, Legislative District 25

Darcy is a Chester resident who currently raises chickens, sheep, and honey bees with her family on their small farm. Before she became involved in politics, Darcy spent nearly 20 years in the financial services industry as a project manager and regulatory analyst.

Darcy is running to be a strong voice in Trenton for New Jersey families and businesses. She believes we need advocates with vision and conviction who will work to lower health care and prescription drug costs, keep taxes in check, and ensure New Jersey is affordable for all our residents. Darcy was the Morris County Chair for Rep. Tom Malinowski’s 2018 Congressional campaign, is an Emerge New Jersey alum (class of 2018), and currently serves as Chester Township Municipal Chair.

Steven Farkas

Assembly, Legislative District 30

Steven Farkas is the father of a son born with an extreme congenital heart defect, who underwent three open heart surgeries in his first year of life. As a result, health insurance has been a crucial concern for Steven and his family.

Steven was raised in a union family where he was taught to fight for the rights of those who are pushed to the sidelines, and give a voice to those whose voices have been silenced. He has done so all his life, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. He is running for Assembly in the 30th legislative district to continue this work by fighting for progressive issues including Medicare for All, free community college, environmental protection, and removing dark money from our political system.

Laura Fortgang

Assembly, Legislative District 26

“Fortgang”  means, “moving forward” and that is exactly what Laura Fortgang helps people do in her career, as the mother of three, and in her community. She brings the energy and professional skills to cut through the gridlock of our state government and find solutions  that work for everyone. For 24 years she’s done just this working with large organizations, like NASA, corporations like Novartis, and many small businesses as an executive coach and a consultant. She is currently the chairwoman of the Verona Democratic Committee, a responsibility which convinced her government must operate with transparency and accountability. She also serves as an interfaith minister, helping her to deepen her commitment to the district and the many communities that comprise it.  When elected to represent the 26th Legislative District, she will bring this same energy and skill to tackle New Jersey’s most crucial problems, where families are paying more but getting less in return.

Stacey Gunderman

Assembly, Legislative District 21

Stacey Gunderman is a working mom, wife of a school teacher, engaged activist and community organizer. She lives with her husband, Mark, and their two young sons in New Providence. Stacey works in Senior Living and previously worked as a financial professional with Prudential. She first became involved in politics by organizing fellow activists and area residents to attend marches and rallies in the region. This experience led her to revive the local Democratic party, and through her efforts, Democratic candidates have started to win in New Providence.

Stacey is running for Assembly in District 21 because she believes that we need representatives that share our values and will stand up for us. She is committed to modernizing public transportation, investing in infrastructure and education, reducing our tax burden, supporting small businesses and making the tough decisions to fix the fiscal crisis in state government for future generations. She will listen, be responsive, be accountable and bring fresh approaches because you deserve better.

Deana Lykins

Assembly, Legislative District 24

Deana Lykins is an attorney and working mother of three great kids. She currently works as Development Director at Project Self-Sufficiency, a non-profit organization that provides services to low income individuals and families. Deana previously represented organizations in the private sector, and also worked for a number of years for the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services and the Senate Democratic Office, advising the Legislature on policy issues including labor, commerce and consumer affairs. She has also been a volunteer for the Sussex County YMCA, a Child Ambassador for World Vision and a parent PTA volunteer.

Deana is running for the NJ General Assembly to provide a more diverse, comprehensive and powerful voice in Trenton. She believes strongly in the power of adequately funded education and infrastructure to bring about a stronger, more sustainable economy for the people of Legislative District 24.

Lisa Mandelblatt

Assembly, Legislative District 21

Lisa Mandelblatt grew up in Springfield and now lives with her husband Gary and their dog, Emmie, in Westfield, with two adult children who live in New York City and Washington, D.C. Lisa practiced complex corporate litigation and white-collar criminal defense law in New York City and Boston. After retiring from law practice, Lisa worked for nearly a decade as a public school educator and is an active volunteer in the community. In 2018, she ran for US Congress and later served as the Union County Chairwoman for Tom Malinowski’s successful Congressional campaign.

Lisa is running for Assembly in District 21 because she believes that we need representatives that share our values and will stand up for us. She is committed to modernizing public transportation, investing in infrastructure and education, reducing our tax burden, supporting small businesses and making the tough decisions to fix the fiscal crisis in state government for future generations. She will listen, be responsive, be accountable and bring fresh approaches because you deserve better.

Awais Qazi

Assembly, Legislative District 29

Awais is a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan who’s lived in New Jersey most of his life. During his college years at NJIT, he grew to love the city of Newark for its culture, diversity, and community. After graduating, Awais became an activist, joining the Sunrise Movement’s effort to bring attention to the politics behind climate change and promote the Green New Deal. He was awestruck by the movement’s success in changing the public discourse, and has been inspired to continue the fight for progressive change as a candidate.

In the Assembly, Awais will work to advance progressive policies that haven’t been enacted despite Democratic majorities in both the Assembly and State Senate. He will hold elected officials accountable for Newark’s lead water crisis and for the lack of oversight on Economic Development Authority corporate tax subsidies. Awais’ ultimate goal is to create a much-needed dialogue among neighbors and amplify the voices of Newark and Belleville community members.

County Elections

Jean Czarkowski

Ocean County Freeholder

Jean Czarkowski is a lifelong resident of Ocean County, having grown up in Beachwood and Toms River. As an education and social work/counseling professional, she has dedicated her life to empowering people and inspiring them to identify and cultivate their talents and strengths. She has used her relationship-building skills to pull agencies, organizations and services together to meet needs within communities.

Jean is running for Ocean County Freeholder because she believes that it is time we have people in office with conflict resolution and relationship building skills. She wants our county to use resources wisely, to be proactive rather than reactive, and to ensure that all individuals are afforded equal access to systems of not only economic security but upward mobility. Jean believes that our communities need to heal from the partisan divide and recognize that we can come together on many things that will improve the quality of life and generate prosperity for all our citizens.

Susan M. Korngut

Atlantic County Executive

Susan Korngut was born and raised in Atlantic County. She is a family law attorney and owns her own legal practice in Northfield. Susan previously served on the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates and was elected to Northfield City Council in 2017. During her term, she has promoted the diversity of Northfield and fought to preserve the quality of life for all residents.

Susan is running for Atlantic County Executive because she believes that county government has been stuck in “cruise control” for too long. As a practicing attorney, she knows how to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, and as Atlantic County Executive, she plans to tackle the problems we face head-on, from growing our economy to combating income inequality to protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

Moira Nelson

Monmouth County Freeholder

Moira Nelson lives in Asbury Park and was born and raised in Middletown. She is a longtime fashion industry executive and small business owner. In her spare time, she is dedicated to civic engagement, justice, and advocating for drug policy reform, and is currently the Director of Drug Policy Reform for ATNJ.  

Moira is running for Monmouth County Freeholder because it is increasingly unaffordable to live here, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors, and she will make it a top priority to ensure affordability and access to services for all residents. Monmouth County has historically been a leader in innovation and technology, and Moira believes that we should be working toward a resilient, sustainable future that safeguards our natural resources and creates good, “green” jobs.

Cara Parmigiani

Morris County Freeholder

Cara Parmigiani was born and raised in Morris County and still resides there. After graduating from Rutgers, she worked in property management and taught martial arts, then attended Seton Hall Law and opened her own law practice in Mountain Lakes.

Cara is running for Morris County Freeholder to make sure citizens’ tax dollars are used to benefit them. She believes in fiscal responsibility balanced with community caring. Through careful planning, we can fund programs, reduce traffic, improve infrastructure, educate our children, care for the elderly, provide services for veterans, and keep our county beautiful. Freeholders are responsible for the county budget priorities, and Cara is running to be sure that those priorities represent you and what you want.

Michael Thompson

Morris County Surrogate

Michael Thompson lives in Mendham Township with his wife, Pandora, and his son, Boone. He has been a practicing trusts and estates attorney for over 20 years, drafting wills and trusts, administering estates, and litigating guardianships. He has practiced before various Surrogate’s Courts throughout New Jersey.

Michael believes that the County Surrogate should be one of the least political jobs in government, since county residents utilize the services of the Surrogate’s Court during difficult and sensitive times in their lives: when a loved one dies, when facing a family crisis, when a parent loses capacity, and when a disabled child turns 18. He believes that his skills and experience make him a strong candidate for the job.

Municipal Elections

Jim Duffy

Mayor of Chester Township

Jim was born and raised in NJ, and he and his wife have lived in Chester Township for more than a decade. Their three children have attended local public schools. An active hiker, sailor, runner and cyclist, Jim has always had a passion for the outdoors. He is currently a member of the Chester Township Environmental Commission and serves as the chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at William Paterson University.

Jim’s business and public service experience includes managing diverse projects, teams and budgets, and has instilled in him a unique perspective and voice for our Chester Township community. He is running on a platform of principles, leadership, and community-minded values, and would be honored to serve as the next Mayor of Chester Township.

Cori Herbig

Parsippany-Troy Hills Town Council

Cori Herbig grew up in Chester and now lives in Lake Hiawatha with her husband and two children. She is a Rutgers College graduate and holds a law degree from Pace Law School.

Cori has an extensive history as a legislative strategist and advocate. She has spent her career fighting for those negatively impacted by systemic oppression and marginalization. She is currently the Director of State Government Affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, which includes Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, where she works to pass lifesaving gun violence prevention policies and preserve public safety laws throughout the country. Before that, she spent 13 years advocating for animal welfare at the ASPCA and practiced law to keep struggling families safe from unlawful eviction at Westchester/Putnam Legal Services. Cori has dedicated her career to ensuring that elected leaders are held accountable to the will of the people.

Christine McGrath

Verona Town Council

Christine McGrath moved to Verona in 2010 with her husband Jess, in order to raise a family in a safe community with great schools and a walkable downtown area. Since then, she has taken on leadership roles in several Verona organizations, and most notably served as an advocate to renovate the library and bring it to modern standards, making a centerpiece of the community for everyone to enjoy.

Christine is running for Verona Town Council because she believes Verona needs a new voice in local government – a voice that is thinking ahead on what Verona residents need in order to raise their families here and stay here through their retirement.

Sean McKenna

Plainfield City Council, Ward 2

Born in Iowa and raised in Iowa and Arizona, Sean has lived in New Jersey for 17 years and been a resident of Plainfield for 8 years. A graduate of Boston University, with a degree in political science, Sean has been an active member of the Plainfield community. Serving on the Plainfield Planning Board since 2014 he has worked hard to make sure that developments in the city conform to both the cities Master Plan as well as the needs and wishes of the citizens of Plainfield.

An advocate for all things Plainfield, Sean has served on many boards and commissions within the community including, Plainfield YMCA Board of Directors, Plainfield Vision 2025 Executive Committee, Plainfield Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, Plainfield Promise Commission and as an elected member of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee.

Professionally, Sean has worked in operations management for most of his career with an emphasis on marketing operations for large national and multi-national corporations. He is a resident of the Netherwood Heights neighborhood with his partner of 15 years and their two dogs.

Andrea Zeydelis

Mayor of Denville

Andrea Zeydelis is an avid volunteer and the proud mom of two. She is currently a Grant Coordinator with a nonprofit home health care organization, and during her 15-year career, she has worked with families, nonprofits and government agencies to create programs and policies focused on health, education, and aging. She is also the current municipal chair for the Denville Democratic Committee.

Andrea is running for Mayor of Denville to represent Denville residents and bring a new voice to local government. Two tenets of her platform are accountability and transparency. She wholeheartedly believes that good governance relies on the honesty and integrity of its public servants.

Democratic Committee Elections

Sophia Chadda

Bernards Township Democratic Committee

Sophia Chadda has lived in Bernards Twp. for 20 years and raised her three children here. She runs a dental practice in Basking Ridge and has served on the Bernards Township Board of Health. Sophia also volunteers in a number of capacities, including at her children’s schools and at the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge.

With her STEM background, Sophia employs a fact- and evidence-based approach to solving problems and making decisions. She wants to foster greater communication between elected officials and residents of our town and facilitate the participation of more of her fellow residents in our civic affairs. She would be honored to serve her township neighbors and work to improve our future together.

Joan Jacobsen

Hardyston County Committee

Joan is currently retired and actively volunteers her time to assist Progressive Candidates with their campaigns while helping to promote change through policy. She is a Co-Chair of Action Together Sussex County, Executive Board Member of the Sussex County Democratic Committee and  Chair of Outreach for the Sussex County Democratic Committee.

Joan is seeking re-election for her Hardyston County Committee seat.

Emmy Tiderington

Hudson County Committee

Emmy is a social work professor, homelessness researcher, and founding member of Hudson Progressives. She just won another 2 year term on the Hudson County Committee.