CAWP’s 2023 New Jersey County Report Card
With the 2023 New Jersey primary election just a week away, the 2023 New Jersey County Report Card from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, shows that progress for women’s political representation in the state is at a virtual standstill. Women gained only a single county commission seat since our previous report card and just six municipal council positions among the 3,105 such offices statewide. Meanwhile, women’s representation among New Jersey’s mayors decreased for the second year in a row, with women losing one mayoralty since CAWP’s 2022 report card; the 2022 report showed women’s representation in mayors’ offices falling by seven seats from the year prior. Women now hold 31% of municipal council seats, 37% of county commission seats, and 16.6% of mayoralties.
The top three counties for women’s representation in New Jersey politics in 2023 are Mercer, Middlesex, and Union, with Mercer and Middlesex tied for the top spot. The bottom three counties for women’s representation are Passaic, Cape May, and Morris, with Passaic and Cape May tied for last place. CAWP’s overall county rankings are determined via an average of rankings for women’s representation in mayoral, county commissioner, and municipal council offices.
“New Jersey is heading into the 2023 primary elections ranked 27th in CAWP’s rankings of states by women’s representation in municipal government. Not even in the top half. And there’s also a very real chance we could lose ground in state legislative representation this year,” said CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. “Seeing these numbers in our County Report Card, and the persistent stagnation over recent history, is another reminder that the Garden State isn’t doing near enough to elevate women in leadership. We must do better.”
Key findings by level of office:
- County commission seats: The top-ranked county for women county commissioners in 2023 is Somerset, where women hold 60% of commissioner seats. Women hold the majority of commissioner seats in five New Jersey counties in 2023: Somerset (60%), Bergen (57%), Mercer (57%), Middlesex (57%), and Union (56%). The bottom-ranked county is Salem, where zero women currently hold county commissioner seats.
- Mayoralties: The top-ranked county this year for women’s representation in mayoral offices is Union, where women hold 33% of mayoral offices; the bottom counties are Ocean and Passaic, with women holding just 6% of mayoralties in each county.
- Municipal office: The top-ranked county this year for women’s representation on municipal councils is Mercer, where women hold 49% of council seats. This year’s bottom-ranked county for women’s share of council seats is Cumberland; women hold just 15% of council seats in Cumberland County. Representation in municipal offices also varies widely throughout the state. Just under a fifth (17.4%) of town councils have zero women serving. Just over a tenth (12.3%) of two on councils are majority female.
Full tables for the overall county ranking and the rankings for mayoralties, county commissions, and town councils follow below. Additional information about women in New Jersey politics, including previous county report cards, milestones, and women officeholders currently and over time, can be found on our New Jersey Facts page; for comparisons, see our 2022 New Jersey County Report Card here.
Daniel De Simone: firstname.lastname@example.org; 760.703.0948