Sen. Cory Booker was easily re-nominated for a second term I this week’s New Jersey primary capturing over 89% of the projected vote. Who he will face in November remains a question mark, however. Former congressional candidate Hirsch Singh and pharmaceutical executive Rik Mehta are seesawing in counting that is taking days to count. Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, Sen. Booker is the prohibitive re-election favorite for the Fall campaign. As with many other states, the large number of mailed ballots means the tabulation period can be stretched for more than a week.
Last night’s Garden State primary yielded few surprises, as all incumbents were headed to easy re-nomination victories in preliminary returns. Republicans David Richter, Tom Kean Jr., and Rosemary Becchi will face Democratic freshmen Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski, and Mikie Sherrill, respectively, in what should become competitive battles.
Party-switching Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was elected in the 2nd District as a Democrat but later became a Republican, scored what looks to be an unofficial 81% of the vote in his first GOP primary. He will face Amy Kennedy, the wife of former US Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), in what should be another competitive general election.
Sen. Cory Booker was easily re-nominated for a second term last night in his state’s primary capturing over 89% of the projected vote. He will likely face defeated 2018 Republican congressional candidate Hirsch Singh who is leading a close battle with pharmaceutical executive Rik Mehta. Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, Sen. Booker is the prohibitive re-election favorite for the Fall campaign. As with many other states, the large number of mailed ballots means final tabulations will not be recorded for several more days.
Primaries and runoffs are still on the political horizon, but July is a light electoral month. Tomorrow, the postponed New Jersey statewide primary will be held, and a new extensive mail voting procedure will be tested as all registered voters were sent a live ballot. The Delaware stand-alone presidential primary will also be conducted. The regular statewide Delaware primary is the latest in the nation, scheduled for September 15th. Stand-alone presidential primaries will also be held this month in Louisiana (7/11) and Puerto Rico (7/12).
July 14th hosts runoff elections in Alabama and Texas. The important US Senate Republican contest between retired Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and ex-US Attorney General and former Senator Jeff Sessions will be finally be decided that day. Runoffs in the open 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts will also send contestants to the respective general elections in what should be safe Republican seats. The original Alabama runoff election date was March 31st.
Texas holds a US Senate Democratic runoff and 15 House secondary elections postponed from May 26th. From the latter group, nine Republican contests and six Democratic electoral events will finally determine general election participants. The Texas and Alabama primaries were held all the way back on March 3rd.
Maine holds its postponed primary also on July 14th. State House Speaker Sara Gideon is a heavy favorite to win the Democratic US Senate nomination to face incumbent Susan Collins (R). Three credible Republicans are vying for the opportunity of challenging freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) in what is likely to be a competitive 2nd District general election campaign.
There has been some talk that the Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff/Bergen County) could get close but a new TargetSmart poll (released 6/25; 400 NJ-5 likely Democratic primary voters) dispels such a notion. According to the Target data, Rep. Gottheimer would destroy Glen Rock town Councilwoman Arati Kreibich by a 66-23% count. Such a margin suggests that Mr. Gottheimer will easily win re-nomination to a third term. The postponed New Jersey primary is scheduled for July 7th.
Currently, 22 states have adopted some type of election law changes that will allow more mail voting to various degrees for at least their upcoming primary elections.
To the more extreme extent, five states, according to the Ballotpedia organization, are doing away with the application process and simply sending absentee ballots to every voter. They are: California, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey. Lawsuits to institute similar changes or make even more drastic alterations such as allowing ballot harvesting and extending the deadline to return the ballot to ten days past the election, are alive in nine additional states.
A new Garden State poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute (4/16-19; 704 NJ Adults; 635 NJ registered voters) finds no lasting political side effects from Sen. Cory Booker’s failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination. In hypothetical general election matchups, Sen. Booker would lead Republican Rik Mehta, 55-32%, and enjoys an even larger 58-33% margin over GOP candidate Hirsh Singh. These numbers suggest the obvious, that Sen. Booker is safe for re-election.
Mental health advocate Amy Kennedy, wife of former US Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), may not have as much institutional New Jersey Democratic Party support in her race to eventually face party-switching GOP incumbent Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township/Cape May), but she will have more early campaign resources. In announcing fundraising numbers just before the April 15th campaign disclosure deadline, Ms. Kennedy will report raising $566,000, of which $250,000 was self-contributed, as compared to college professor Brigid Callahan Harrison’s $213,000 raised, of which $101,000 was self-contributed.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has followed through on previous reports that he was considering moving the June 2nd primary. Yesterday, the Governor confirmed the New Jersey partisan primary election will now take place on July 7th.
Responding to news that a large percentage of his ballot petition signatures were ruled invalid, Barnegat Township Mayor John Novak announced that he is dropping out of the race. In his exiting statement, Mr. Novak made a public endorsement for venture capitalist David Richter, who most of the local party establishment is supporting. The winner of the Republican primary race between he and former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs will challenge freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) in the general election.
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