- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Democrat-led state Assembly welcomed three new lawmakers.

Democrats Robert Karabinchak and Blonnie Watson, who won their seats in a special November election, were sworn in on Monday, as was Republican Kevin Rooney, who was tapped to fill in for Scott Rumana. Republican Gov. Chris Christie appointed Rumana as a judge.

The members were sworn in by Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

Karabinchak defeated Republican Camille Ferraro Clark in the 18th District. He was tapped for the seat after Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan was appointed to the state Senate when Democrat Peter Barnes became a judge. The district contains a handful of towns in Middlesex County, including Edison and Metuchen.

Karabinchak is president of the general contracting firm Tri-Form Construction.

Watson defeated Republican Ronda Morrison in the 29th District. She was tapped to fill the seat after incumbent Democrat Grace Spencer assumed a judgeship in July. She is retired from the U.S. Postal Service, where she worked in its systems compliance division.

The district includes Newark and Belleville.

Rooney will represent parts of Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic counties. Rooney previously served as mayor of Wyckoff Township.

The new members don’t change the party makeup of the chamber, which has 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans.

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