New Jersey goes mostly blue, with wins for Booker, Biden; Van Drew, Kim, Malinowski, Gottheimer, Sherrill headed toward re-election

By David WildsteinNovember 04 2020

New Jersey Globe

In an election contested mostly through vote-by-mail ballots during a global health pandemic, New Jerseyans delivered huge margins to Joe Biden and Cory Booker, approved a ballot referendum to legalize marijuana, and left three incumbent freshmen congressmen strongly positioned to win second terms – but with victories just slightly uncertain as a result of a large numbers of uncounted ballots.

Jefferson Van Drew, who switched parties late last year after refusing to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump, leads Democrat Amy Kennedy by 9,563 votes, a 52%-48% margin, in the 2nd district.

Democrats Andy Kim and Tom Malinowski, who ousted Republican congressmen in the 2018 mid-term elections, are on their way to re-election to second terms.

Kim has a 34,864-vote lead over Republican David Richter in the 3rd district, a 56%-44% margin that is likely to overshadow uncounted ballots in GOP-heavy Ocean County.

In the 7th, Malinowski is 28,412 votes ahead of Republican Tom Kean, Jr., the minority leader of the New Jersey State Senate, a ten-point margin.

Democrats also held two GOP-leaning North Jersey seats.

Josh Gottheimer is the likely winner of a third term as the congressman from the 5th district, leading Republican Frank Pallotta by a 58%-41% margin.

In the 11th district, freshman Mikie Sherrill leads in her bid for re-election against her Republican opponent, Rosemary Becchi by a 59%-41% margin.

Republican Christopher Smith is headed to a 21st term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He has a 57%-42% lead against Stephanie Schmid.  In January, he will become the longest-serving congressman in New Jersey history.

Six other Democratic House members were re-elected: Donald Norcross, Frank Pallone, Jr., Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald Payne, Jr. and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

As of 6 PM on Tuesday, the state Division of Elections said that 3,808,020 ballots had already been cast.   That number is expected to jump well beyond 4 million during the next week as election officials continue to count ballots.

When ballot counting stopped at some point on Tuesday evening, somewhere between 65% and 75% of the state’s ballots had been counted.

In special elections for State Senate and Assembly in the Morris County-based 25th district, the races are too close to call.

With less than half the county counted, Democrat Rupande Mehta has an 861-vote lead over GOP State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco.  Republican Assemblywoman Aura Dunn trails Democrat Darcy Draeger by 2,289 votes.

Biden will get New Jersey’s fourteen electoral votes.  He leads Trump by 666,703 votes, 61%-38%, a 23-point margin.

The former vice president is in front of Trump in three GOP strongholds, Morris, Monmouth and Hunterdon counties.  He’s up 17 points in Morris, 11 points in Monmouth, and 4 points in Hunterdon.

Biden is also ahead in Gloucester County, which Trump won narrowly four years ago.

Booker’s lead over Republican Rik Mehta, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official, is 642,957, 61%-38%.

It’s possible that when all the votes are tallied, Booker will have the most votes ever cast for a statewide candidate in New Jersey.

Also possible, if the final turnout continues to skyrocket: Mehta could wind up receiving more votes than any other Republican candidate in statewide history.

Booker leads in Morris and Monmouth counties, and Hunterdon is neck-and-neck.

Voters approved a referendum to legalize adult recreational marijuana; Public Question #1 is ahead by a 2-1 margin so far, and is ahead among voters in all 21 counties.

A constitutional amendment to retain the current legislative district map until 2023, if the U.S. Census numbers aren’t certified by February 15, 2021, passed.   After Tuesday’s vote, it’s at a 60%-40% margin.  It swept all 21 counties, even in GOP strongholds where party leaders strongly opposed it.

Races for freeholder – a job that will be called county commissioner next year – in Atlantic, Monmouth, Morris, and Salem counties remain too close to call.   So is a race for Atlantic County Surrogate.

Democrats are also poised to oust the last two Republican freeholder in Somerset County, where longtime GOP Surrogate Frank Bruno is also on the verge of losing re-election.

In Mount Laurel, Democrat took control by picking up three Republican seats.

Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz appears headed for a runoff.  She seems to have fallen far short of 50%.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-11-04 03:30:05 -0800