- Associated Press - Monday, November 16, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Republicans will not pursue a recount in a close Assembly election contest, giving the seat for a district that includes Princeton to a plasma physicist and increasing Democrats’ edge in the Legislature.

Democrat Andrew Zwicker, who heads the science education department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, defeated Assemblywoman Donna Simon by several dozen votes on Nov. 3. Simon conceded in a phone call to Zwicker on Monday. Chris Russell, a consultant for Simon, confirmed she will not seek a recount in the 16th District race.

“This campaign was the democratic process (little d) at its best. Every vote matters. I am thrilled and eager to begin working for the people of the 16th legislative district and all of New Jersey,” Zwicker said in a text message.

Simon called the margin “razor thin” and said low turnout showed voters were “disgusted” with lawmakers.

She said she decided to concede after ensuring there were no major irregularities in the voting process.

“I leave with a heavy heart, but with great pride in having always served with purpose, honor and integrity,” Simon said. She added that she took pride in voting against tax increases during her three years as a lawmaker.

Her decision means Democrats picked up four seats in the Assembly in the Nov. 3 election, bolstering the party’s majority to 52 of 80 seats.

Democrats also knocked two Republicans out of office in central New Jersey’s 11th District - putting Democrats in control for the first time there in more than a decade - and took a seat away from the GOP in southern New Jersey’s 1st District.

All Assembly seats were up for grabs, and it was the first time in 16 years the chamber was alone atop the ticket.

The new legislative session begins in January.

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