Primary Election Results in Pivotal Races

NorthStar Strategies TrueNorth Insights

Election Day in New Jersey

New Jersey held its primary election on Tuesday to determine the Democratic and Republican nominees for New Jersey’s twelve Congressional seats. The ballot also included contenders for a United States Senate seat as well as a host of municipal and county posts.

The results set up a general election that could help determine control of the House of Representatives in November. Seven of 12 seats are currently held by Democrats and all but one appear extremely likely to remain in Democrat hands. Of the five GOP seats, two are open due to the retirement of long-time incumbents Rodney Frelinghuysen and Frank LoBiondo; a third is being heavily targeted by Dems. Nationally, Democrats need to flip 24 House seats to reclaim the Speaker’s Gavel.

Generally, establishment candidates fared well, capitalizing on a fundraising edge as well as county party support which resulted in favorable ballot placement.

Senate winners: Bob Menendez (D), Bob Hugin (R)

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, secured renomination with 62% of the vote. The win sets up a general election battle against former pharma executive Bob Hugin who also won his primary by defeating construction company owner Brian Goldberg. New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican US Senator since 1972 and Hugin hopes to end that streak. This race promises to be expensive and heated.

CD1 winners: Donald Norcross (D), Paul Dilks (R)

Incumbent Donald Norcross will take on Republican Paul Dilks after dispatching two primary foes who failed to crack double digits. Norcross won by 23 points in 2016 and has the inside track to a third term in this blue district.

CD2 winners: Jeff Van Drew (D), Seth Grossman (R)

State Senator Jeff Van Drew defeated three other candidates to secure the Democratic nomination. Van Drew is one of the more conservative Dems in the Legislature but locked in establishment support and pushed aside liberal challengers. Staunchly conservative attorney Seth Grossman may have scored the upset of the night by winning despite not receiving the endorsement from any of the eight county committees in the district and being significantly out-fundraised by establishment candidate Hirsh Singh.

CD3 winners: Andy Kim (D), Tom MacArthur (R)

Incumbent Tom MacArthur ran unopposed to secure the GOP nod and will square off against former Obama Administration official Andy Kim, who also ran unopposed. Despite MacArthur winning big in 2016, Democrats think they have a chance and will attempt to capitalize on anti-Trump momentum against an incumbent who has aligned with the President on several key policy issues.

CD4 winners: Josh Welle (D), Chris Smith (R)

Chris Smith, the Dean of New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation, has been in office since 1981. Standing in his way for another term is Democratic nominee Josh Welle, a Navy veteran, Commander in the US Navy Reserve and software executive. Smith hasn’t received less than 61% of the vote since 1982 in this red district.

CD5 winners: Josh Gottheimer (D), John McCann (R)

Unopposed Freshman Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer learned that he will face attorney John McCann who unseated perennial candidate (for Governor, US Senate, Congress for CD3) Steve Lonegan. McCann and Lonegan spent most of their time attacking each other and competing to “out-embrace” President Trump. Gottheimer won in 2016 by defeating incumbent Scott Garrett and giving Democrats control of a seat that had been in Republican hands for decades. Gottheimer has spent his first term reaching across party lines; he Co-Chairs the Problem Solvers Caucus which seeks to create bi-partisan cooperation on key policy issues.

CD6 winners: Frank Pallone (D), Rich Pezzullo (R)

Incumbent Frank Pallone easily won re-nomination to the seat he has held since 1988. He’ll face Republican nominee Rich Pezzullo, who was briefly a candidate for the GOP nomination for Senate against Bob Menendez before dropping out to endorse Bob Hugin.

CD7 winners: Tom Malinowski (D), Leonard Lance (R)

Incumbent GOP Congressman Leonard Lance easily won nomination to another term and will face Tom Malinowski, a former Obama Administration official. National Dems perceive Lance as vulnerable and are targeting the race. Lance has worked hard to overcome a wave of local opposition to the Trump Administration; he voted against the Republican tax bill and Obamacare repeal and has never shied away from angry and concerned constituents.

CD8 winners: Albio Sires (D), John Muniz (R)

Incumbent Albio Sires is running for another term against Republican challenger John Muniz. Congressman Sires is seeking his sixth term and won his last election with over 77% of the vote.

CD9 winners: Bill Pascrell (D), Eric Fisher (R)

Veteran Congressman Bill Pascrell keeps punching and won his party’s nomination last night with over 85% of the vote. He’ll face Eric Fisher – who ran unopposed – in the general. Pascrell won reelection in 2016 with 66% of the vote.

CD10 winners: Donald Payne (D), Agha Khan (R)

Congressman Donald Payne secured the Democratic nomination with over 91% of the vote and will face Agha Khan – Albio Sires’ 2016 general election opponent – in November. Payne has consistently received over 80% of the vote since succeeding his father in office in 2012.

CD11 winners: Mikie Sherrill (D), Jay Webber (R)

In the contest to replace 12-term incumbent and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor Mikie Sherrill won the Democratic primary with 76%. GOP Assemblyman Jay Webber, one of the most conservative members of the Legislature, ran an impressive campaign and secured 40% in a 5-way primary. The general will be one of the most closely watched races in the nation and could play a role in Democrats effort to regain control of the House of Representatives.

CD12 winners: Bonnie Watson Coleman (D), Daryl Kipnis (R)

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman ran unopposed and secured the Democratic nomination for another term in the House. She will face Republican Daryl Kipnis who also ran unopposed. BWC nearly doubled her opponent’s vote count in 2016 and seems a safe bet to secure a third term.