UNITED STATES SENATE
United States Senator Bob Menendez Overcomes Ethics Issues to Win Re-election in the Garden State.
In a Presidential Midterm Election, New Jersey's United States Senate race prove to be a nasty affair. The race featured United States Senior Senator Bob Menendez (D) squaring off against former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin (R). The contest garnered national attention, but ultimately, Senator Menendez, would prevail, winning reelection by about a 9 point margin before the counting of all vote by mail ballots.
Menendez's reelection bid was hampered by a high-profile federal corruption trial that ended in a mistrial. Menendez was accused by President Barack Obama's Justice Department of accepting gifts from Florida ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen, in exchange for advocating for his business interests. While the corruption trial would end in a mistrial, Menendez was eventually "severely admonished" by the bi-partisan Senate Ethics Committee.
Hugin, who spent over $38 million of his own money, hammered Menendez over his ethical troubles and claimed that "New Jersey deserves better." In the end, the Garden State's deep unpopularity towards President Donald Trump, hindered Hugin's election prospects. The Menendez campaign tied his opponent to President Trump, noting that Hugin served as a key fundraiser and delegate to the President at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
In a State where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 900,000 voters, Menendez was able to energize his base enough to capture re-election to the Senate. Since 1972, New Jersey has not elected a Republican to represent the State. The Menendez ticket carried traditional Democratic counties including Hudson, Essex, and Camden.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Following this year's Midterm Election's New Jersey's Congressional Delegation will be Comprised of 10 Democrats and 1 Republican with CD-3 still up in the air as we go to print.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2
New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew (D) cruises to victory against former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman (R)
Following Congressman Frank LoBiondo's (R-Ventnor) announcement that he would not seek re-election after 22 years in Congress, State Senator Jeff Van Drew and former Freeholder Atlantic County Freeholder and attorney Seth Grossman squared off in a bid to represent New Jersey's southern-most district. Van Drew, a dentist who has represented Cape May County and portions of Cumberland and Atlantic Counties during his tenure in Trenton, defeated Grossman by an 52% to 46.2% margin.
While early polling suggested that the race could be a toss-up, comments made by Grossman on the campaign trail, including disparaging remarks about diversity, women and minorities, quickly separated the two candidates. The district, which was targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a part of its "Red to Blue Campaign", has not been represented by a Democrat since Congressman William J. Hughes in 1995.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 3
The race between President Trump's closest ally in New Jersey, Congressman Tom MacArthur (R), and former National Security Council official and diplomat Andy Kim (D) remains too close to call. Vote by Mail ballots will determine the outcome of the campaign when counted over the next few days.
New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District spans the state from the Shore to the Delaware river and contains portions of Republican stronghold Ocean County and a heavily Democratic portion of Burlington County. Unlike the rest of New Jersey's Congressional Delegation, Congressman MacArthur has actively supported the President, most notably through the Republican's unsuccessful attempt to repeal Obamacare and his support of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act". Throughout the campaign cycle, Mr. Kim, who grew up in NJ-3, billed himself as a centrist and contrasted himself from the incumbent on a number of issues including climate change, and the preservation of Obamacare.
Initially a long-shot, Mr. Kim's campaign capitalized on the President's unpopularity in the Garden State and closed the gap in public polls leading up to the election. A Monmouth University survey released on October 25, 2018 showed Mr. Kim leading the incumbent by 2 points - a 48% to 46% margin. Furthermore, Mr. Kim scored the endorsements of the Star Ledger and Philadelphia Inquirer leading up to the election. Congressman MacArthur was solely endorsed by the Burlington County Times, who cited his support of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, military veterans, and his work championing funding for the opioid crisis and deportation protection for Dreamers.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 7
Well-funded Former Obama Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski (D) edges Congressman Leonard Lance (R) in the battle to represent New Jersey's 7th Congressional District
Five-time incumbent Congressman Leonard Lance, most known for his civility and stance as a moderate Republican, lost the political fight of his career in the well-educated, affluent Seventh Congressional District to former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski. Lance has represented the District since 2008 and has won each of his past four election bid by double-digits. Malinowski emerged as a well-funded opponent against the incumbent. On election day, Malinowski prevailed by an 50.3% to 48.2% margin.
On the campaign trail, Lance did not shy away from his record and argued that his views were, "...the views of the district," and championed his bipartisan record on issues including health care, tax policy, and the international situation and immigration. Furthermore, Lance would accuse his opponent of being a carpetbagger who "parachuted" into the district to seek federal office. The Congressman also attacked his challenger as a lobbyist for terrorists and cited Malinowski's role in drafting the Iran Nuclear Deal and his work as a lobbyist for the Human Rights Watch.
Mr. Malinowski would attempt to bill himself as a centrist who is, "...pro-military, pro-defense, and pro-free Trade," and attacked Lance for describing himself as a Moderate. Malinowski's campaign significantly out-raised and out-spent the Lance Camp and spent a significant portion of his war chest on television advertisements and mailers. Pundits leading up to the race speculated that Moderate Republicans, like Congressman Lance were the most vulnerable representatives who could be swept up and defeated in the event of a "Blue Wave."
Polling prior to Election Day showed the race was a dead heat, but in the end, the weight of President Donald Trump unpopularity in the district was too much for the incumbent to overcome.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 11
Former Navy Pilot and Federal Prosecutor Mikie Sherril (D) defeats Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber (R) in a heavily contested election
On January 29, 2018, House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen shocked the political world when he announced his retirement from Congress at the end of his term. In the bid to fill Frelinghuysen's seat, extremely well-funded Democrat Mikie Sherril defeated New Jersey State Assemblyman Jay Webber by an 55.6% to 43.3% margin.
The district, which spans across Morris, Essex, Passaic and Sussex Counties, has since redistricting in the 1980s, become one of the State's most reliable Republican districts. Congresswoman-Elect Sherril's campaign drew national attention, as she scored endorsements from comedian Chelsea Handler, VoteVets.org, the New York Times, and EMILY's List. Additionally, Sherril's fundraising placed her among the top house fundraisers in the country, including the most ever raised for a Congressional Race in New Jersey history. On the issues, Sherril billed herself as a centrist who has vowed to secure funding for the Gateway Tunnel, develop a better tax deal for the middle class, and fight against any efforts to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Her opponent, Assemblyman Webber, was called by his opponent as being out-of-touch with the views of the State's northeastern suburban district. Webber's campaign included political stumps from Vice President Michael Pence (R) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and an endorsement and fundraiser held by President Trump. He was attacked by his opponent for his voting record in Trenton, which included votes against paid leave for new parents, his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage, and his refusal to oppose gay conversion therapy.
In the suburban district, which is mostly heavily comprised of traditionally Republican Morris County, Sherril's appeal as a centrist carried her to victory and claimed a notable success in the Garden State for national Democrats.
Although elections for the New Jersey State Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly will be held next year, there were Special Elections in Districts 5, 15, and 38 on Election Day. Each of the appointed legislators won handily and will now fill out the remainder of the unexpired terms.
The Burlington County Freeholder Board switched control from Republican to Democrat. Republicans regained control of the Salem County Freeholder Board. Meanwhile, the Democrats won two seats on the Somerset County Freeholder Board for the first time since 1988.
STATE BALLOT QUESTIONS
New Jersey voters were asked to vote on one public ballot question:
Public Question No. 1:
Voters approved the question by a margin of 52% to 48%. The question asked voters if they wanted to authorize the State to issue $500 million in general obligation bonds for project grants related to vocational schools, college career and technical education, school water infrastructure, and school security. The ballot question appropriates $350 million for career and technical education rants and school security project grants; $100 million for school water infrastructure grants; and $50 million for college career and technical education grants. The measure was supported by a coalition of higher education institutions, building trades and student organizations and opposed by several media editorial boards and the 101.5 radio station.