2020 Election Day Recap

NorthStar Strategies TrueNorth Insights

While many races and ballot questions were decided on Election Night, several notable contests remain too close to call. TrueNorth is pleased to present this comprehensive Election Day recap.


As anticipated, the election for President remains undecided on Wednesday. A number of swing states continue to count votes that were cast by mail or in person on Election Day. New Jersey voted solidly for former Vice President Joe Biden in a race that was called shortly after polls closed at 8pm EST on Election Night. Biden scored 61% of the vote over President Donald Trump and secured New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes.

United States Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was elected to his second full term with a convincing victory over businessman Rik Mehta. Booker won 60% of the vote but he is unlikely to be in the majority party when the Senate reorganizes in January, as several pick-up opportunities for Democrats elsewhere in the country failed to materialize.

House of Representatives

New Jersey played an important role in flipping the House to Democrat-control in 2018, with four Democratic candidates winning Republican seats. All four faced their first challenge yesterday. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Tom Malinowski (NJ-7) turned back challenges in convincing fashion, with Malinowski defeating State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr.

Andy Kim (NJ-3) turned back an aggressive challenge from businessman David Richter in the 3rd District. The Associated Press (AP) called the race just past midnight, declaring Kim the winner with 55% of the vote.

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional district is too close to call. Incumbent Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2), who switched his party affiliation to Republican after opposing the impeachment of President Trump, has relied on strong local popularity in his battle against Amy Kennedy. Van Drew has declared victory in a race that has been targeted by both national parties. Kennedy has not conceded and asserts that she still has a path to victory. The AP has Van Drew up by roughly 9,800 votes.

All other incumbent Members were re-elected by convincing margins. Congratulations to the following Members who will return to Washington:

Donald Norcross (NJ-1) – This thoughtful and pragmatic South Jersey legislator looks poised to climb the ladder on the important House Armed Services Committee.

Chris Smith (NJ-4) – The Dean of New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation will return for his 21st term.

Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) – Fundraising machine and Co-Chair of the House’s bi-partisan Problem Solvers Caucus has built a strong base since flipping this northwest New Jersey district in 2016.

Frank Pallone (NJ-6) – The Chair of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee will continue in this role in the 117th Congress.

Albio Sires (NJ-8) – One of three Delegation Members on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Sires will continue advocating for critical infrastructure issues from his safe North Jersey district.

Bill Pascrell (NJ-9) – Trump antagonist and senior Ways & Means Committee member Pascrell shows no signs of slowing down after winning over 67% of the vote on Election Day.

Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10) – Payne will continue his ascension of the House T&I Committee and may wind up with a subcommittee chairmanship sometime soon.

Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) – Elected to Congress in 2014 as the first African-American woman in Congress from New Jersey, BWC will continue to build her legacy in the 117th Congress.

Legal Marijuana

Weed was the biggest winner on Tuesday, with two thirds of voters approving a referendum to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The ballot question amends New Jersey’s Constitution to make marijuana legal. The New Jersey Legislature will now consider legislation establishing the structure, regulations and licensing process governing the recreational marijuana industry.

State Legislature

New Jersey is one of two States with off-year elections for Governor and Legislature (Virginia is the other). The only seats on the ballot yesterday were special legislative elections in Morris County’s 25th Legislative District. Democrat Rupande Mehta leads incumbent State Senator Anthony Bucco Jr. (R-Boonton) by a slim margin in a contest to fill the remainder of the term of Bucco’s father, Anthony Bucco Sr. Bucco Jr. was appointed to fill his late father’s Senate seat last year, freeing up his Assembly seat. Democrat challenger Darcy Draeger leads Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) in the race to fill Bucco Jr.’s unexpired Assembly term. The Bucco’s have been an institution in Morris County politics for decades and wins by Mehta and Draeger would be a jarring blow for Republicans.

Local Races

In a continued shift in suburban Somerset County, Democrats Doug Singletary and Paul Drake are have defeated incumbent County Freeholders Brian Levine and Brian Gallagher. This gives Democrats full control of the Freeholder Board just two years after gaining a majority.

Several county races in Monmouth County are too close to call. Democratic Freeholder candidates Moira Nelson and Michael Penna are leading County Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian Burry and her running mate Ross Licitra by several thousand votes. Popular County Clerk Christine Hanlon was reelected.

The power shift in suburban Somerset County appears to be continuing.  Democrats Doug Singletary and Paul Drake are have defeated incumbent County Freeholders Brian Levine and Brian Gallagher.  This gives Democrats full control of the Freeholder Board just two years after gaining a majority.

Ocean County Republicans will continue their dominance of county government with the reelection of Freeholder Joe Vicari and County Clerk Scott Colabella.

Union County Democrats swept aside Republican challengers and will retain all county government seats.  Leading the way were incumbent Freeholders Angela Garretson and Chris Hudack.