2017 Primary Election

NorthStar Strategies TrueNorth Insights

In a primary election that was perhaps most notable for the high turnout on the Democratic side, both frontrunners scored victories and will square off in November’s general election battle to replace two-term Governor Chris Christie.

New Jersey also held primary elections for all 120 seats in the Legislature as well as a number of down-ballot contests.


Phil Murphy, the former Goldman Sachs executive and former Ambassador to Germany, will square off against Kim Guadagno, New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor, in the race to replace Governor Chris Christie. The two won their respective primary races tonight, in an election that was called roughly an hour after polls closed.

With 98% of the vote reported, Guadagno received nearly 47% of the vote, besting closest challenger Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli by roughly 16 points. On the Democratic side, Murphy won convincingly, with 48% of the vote in a four-way contest. In the symbolic battle for runner-up, former US Treasury Undersecretary Jim Johnson held a slight lead over Assemblyman John Wisniewski.

Turnout on the Democratic side was especially high, with Murphy alone exceeding the total number of votes cast on the Republican side.

The Murphy-Guadagno contest promises to be a spirited one as various candidate camps coalesce around their respective party’s standard bearer.


Several key primaries are worth reporting on. Incumbent Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce and Senator Steve Oroho faced challenges from the right based largely on their support for a bi-partisan plan to replenish New Jersey’s beleaguered Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) through an increase in New Jersey’s historically low gas tax. We’ve been working to get the TTF done for years and consider DeCroce and Oroho friends, so indulge us as we congratulate them on their well-deserved victories.

In District 12, Incumbents Senator Sam Thompson and Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton all prevailed despite a primary challenge instigated by a local political squabble.

Heavily Democratic District 20 in Union County has most likely returned former Assemblyman and current County Sheriff Joe Cryan to Trenton, this time to the Senate where he would replace outgoing Senator Ray Lesniak. Trenton needs more Joe Cryans, and we’re thrilled at the prospect of having his leadership back under the Golden Dome.

In District 7, our friend Assemblyman Troy Singleton prevailed in his Senate primary and is poised to move to the upper chamber in November.