Second District state Assemblyman John Amodeo and Republican running mate Chris Brown won election to the Assembly, beating Democratic challengers Alisa Cooper and Damon Tyner by several thousand votes each

With all 128 precincts reporting, two-term incumbent Amodeo, with 23,449 votes, and  Brown, with 21,629 votes, bested attorney Tyner, with 18,526 votes and Atlantic County Freeholder Cooper, with 16,583 votes.

With much of the attention focused on the multimillion-dollar state Senate race, the Assembly candidates struggled for recognition.

Nearly 65 percent of voters were unfamiliar with or were uncertain about their opinion of Tyner, while almost 32 percent were in the dark about Cooper, according to a Stockton College/Zogby Poll released last week by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Among the Republicans, the poll said more than 38 percent either did not know or had an opinion on Amodeo, even after nearly four years in the Assembly. More than 53 percent had a similar opinion of Brown, an attorney.

At the Democrats’ headquarters at Atlantic City’s Tun Tavern, Cooper declined comment as she left. She had unsuccessfully tried to capitalize on her time in office, as well as voters’ familiarity with her mother, former Assemblywoman Dolores Cooper.

Tyner said it was too early to discuss his future plans, but he said he was very proud of the time he spent talking with residents about how the middle class was bearing too much of the burden. Regardless of office, Tyner said he would continue to work for area residents.

“I don’t need a title to be a voice for middle class residents,” Tyner said.

At the Republicans’ headquarters at the Linwood Country Club, Brown spent a couple of minutes thanking a room full of supporters for their support before finally learning that he and running mate John Amodeo were victorious.

“Oh, we won? Then I’ll go on,” he continued. “Winning the Assembly is humbling … and we’re going to work very hard to make sure we don’t let you down.”

Afterward, a jubilant Brown declined to talk about the tone of the race and attempted to offer a copy of his speech in lieu of comment.

“I focused on running my own race,” he said when questioned further. “And I am very grateful to the voters in the 2nd District for the confidence they had in me, and I will work very hard not to let them down.”

John Amodeo, who was re-elected Tuesday, had harsh words for the county for not electing his state Senate running mate, Vince Polistina.

“Atlantic County is a loser because we don’t have him anymore, and that comes from my heart,” Amodeo said.

Staff writer Rob Spahr contributed to this report.

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