Somerset County GOP Chairman Al Gaburo today dismissed a survey in the race for state Senate in New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District that shows his ally, incumbent Republican Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, under 50% against virtually unknown challenger Democrat Laurie Poppe, 40% to 48%.
According to the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Poll of the senate race in the split Central Jersey district, “After some positive and negative messages against each candidate, the race closes to a tie, 46 percent to 46 percent. Bateman owes his weak performance to his relatively weak standing despite his long time incumbency.
“Just 55 percent recognize him and even fewer – 36 percent – can offer impressions of him,” the survey adds. “Governor Chris Christie’s job approval rating also may also hurt Bateman; just 18 percent of voters rate his performance as excellent or good.”
The poll concludes that “Bateman’s weak standing coupled with Christie’s historically poor job approval” puts the veteran senator’s seat at risk to a completely unknown challenger in a district Hillary Clinton won by 14 points last year. “For the first time in recent memory, Bateman has a real race on his hands,” the poll notes.
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the survey of 401 likely 2017 General Election voters in New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District from August 17 – 21, 2017. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.
Gaburo said the poll is a fanciful exercise in wishful thinking by an organization still shaken and depleted by multiple past losses.
“Unless those numbers were done in Princeton only, that poll is not even close to being accurate,” Gaburo told InsiderNJ. “That being the case, no one’s going to sit back and be content. Kip’s doing very well, the poll has it wrong, and he’s even got a puncher’s chance in West Princeton. That’s called a fundraising poll.”
Most observers don’t see the close senate race ascertained by the poll, noting that if Bateman were beatable Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) would have challenged him rather than pursuing reelection. But it is definitely on the radar screen of insiders with less than two months before Election Day. It’s going to come down to South Brunswick, Princeton and Hillsborough for the Democrats, one source familiar with the district told InsiderNJ. Historically, South Brunswick doesn’t turn out in non-presidential year races. But they have a special local after beloved Mayor Frank Gambetese died. Democrats in Middlesex are laser focused on making sure Zwicker wins because they another ally for their speaker candidate, Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-18). Zwicker came out early for Coughlin. They will be going hard for GOTV. Princeton just had their mayoral last year but the source insisted the “People’s Republic of Priceton,” in the words of Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16), will turn out for Murphy just because he’s a Democrat. However Princeton and South Brunswick may not be enough to offset Hunterdon and Somerset. The source expects Hillsborough to go Republican just enough to where it will be part of a wave in Somerset and Hunterdon for the GOP, and that’s where Zwicker and company get buried.
Former Assemblywoman Donna Simon (R-16) is out for blood again this year and exacting revenge.
And Gaburo wants that seat back bad.
Manville, Hillsborough, Montgomery, Branchburg will come out strong.
Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caligure (Simon’s running mate) is from Montgomery so he is expected to be strong there. Especially in Districts 3,-7. The Princeton border (districts 1-2) will be for Zwicker, so too will be Pike Run but everything else goes strong Caligure in Montgomery. Somerville will be strong for the GOP too with Mayor Brian Gallagher running for Freeholder. Simon’s Hunterdon will be solidly GOP. That will be the difference for the GOP, the source said, who sees Zwicker as the one imperiled, not Bateman.