Insider NJ’s 2023 Primary Election War Room

6:30pm: Take a look at Insider NJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down following Tuesday’s primary elections.

In Camden, Councilman Collins handily defeated his primary challengers, according to TAPinto.

In Edison, the mayor-backed candidates won the Democratic primary, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Franklin Lakes, the council president was unseated in the GOP primary, according to the Bergen Record.

In Hanover, Mihalko and Cahill won the GOP primary, according to TAPinto.

In Hasbrouck Heights, Kistner and Hillmann will face off for mayor in the general election, according to TAPinto.

In Highland Park, the mayor won the Democratic primary, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Long Hill, unofficial results show a three-way tie, with Liberato leading, according to NJ Hills.

In Morristown, Russo and Pylypchuck lead in the Democratic primary, according to NJ Hills.

In Pompton Lakes, the GOP primary is too close to call, according to

In Readington, the GOP incumbents held off challengers, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Rockaway, Jackson won the GOP mayoral primary, according to NJ Hills.

In Roselle, former Assemblyman Holley is narrowly trailing Mayor Shaw in the Democratic primary, according to TAPinto.

In Upper Saddle River, the appointed mayor won the GOP primary, according to the Bergen Record.

In Warren, Fine and Kian appeared to win the GOP primary, according to NJ Hills.

12:55 am.:

What a night for the Christie family!

Yep, Chris Christie was up in New Hampshire announcing plans to run for president.

But let’s not overlook the other big news of the night for the Christie clan.

Back in Morris County, Todd Christie, the brother of the now presidential candidate, won a seat on the Mendham Township Republican committee from the 5th District. He was unopposed and he got 48 votes.

All politics, of course, is local. (Fred Snowflack)

11:18pm: In Parsippany, Carifi, Kandi, and McGrath are leading in the GOP council primary.


In Dover, former Mayor Dodd won the three-way Democratic primary.


In Toms River, incumbent Mayor Hill lost the GOP mayoral primary, and council incumbents lost, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Atlantic City, Mayor Small’s critics have a lead in the primary, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In East Hanover, Mayor Pannullo won the GOP mayoral primary, according to NJ Hills.


In Florham Park, Tyler is poised to win the GOP mayoral primary, according to NJ Hills.


In New Providence, Keane and Dolan won the contested Democratic council primary, according to TAPinto.


In Phillipsburg, GOP voters backed change in the primary, according to Lehigh Valley Live.


In Pleasantville, a councilwoman has an early lead over a challenger, according to the Press of Atlantic City.


In Point Pleasant Beach, Vitale pulled out a victory in the GOP mayoral primary, according to the Asbury Park Press.


In Warren, Lazo and Croson lead in the GOP primary, according to NJ Hills.

11:10 p.m.: The entire LD-26 ticket of Senator Joe Pennacchio, Assemblyman Jay Webber and Assemblyman Brian Bergen (pictured below) appears to have won, eliminating the chance for a 2023 comeback by former Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce.



10:51 p.m.: Dawn Fantasia and Mike Inganamort lead Jason Sarnoski and Josh Aikens in the LD-24 Republican Primary on the strength of their Sussex and Morris machine vote production.

10:44 p.m.: Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) jubilant at GOP headquarters tonight after defeating Tom Mastrangelo, with Sarah Neibart, beaten last year in a countywide race by Mastrangelo (photo by InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack).

10:31 p.m.:

RSLC Statement on New Jersey State Legislative Primary Results 

Washington D.C.-  Following tonight’s primary results in New Jersey, Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) President Dee Duncan issued the following statement:


“New Jersey families have had enough of the Democrat trifecta of power in Trenton that has led to burdensome tax hikes, skyrocketing crime, and the worst business climate in the country. Tonight’s primary signals the beginning of change for eager New Jerseyans ready for state Republicans to lead the charge and pass commonsense solutions. The RSLC was proud to make a significant five-figure investment in New Jersey to support our nominees earlier than ever, a commitment made after the 2022 election cycle, so we can continue to build off our previous success in 2021.”

10:26 p.m.: Parsippany results:





10:23 p.m.: Bad night for Bill Spadea. His “candidates” lost in LD 26, LD24, LD 4, Toms River Mayor.

10:09 p.m.: Consequential mayoral GOP primary in Toms River tonight. Ciattarelli ally incumbent mayor Mo Hill lost, as did Gilmore ally “Geri” Ambrosio.  Winner: Daniel Rodric, not affiliated with either Ciattarelli or Gilmore (Spadea).  Very tempting now for Jon Bramnick or Mike Testa to get into race.

10:06 p.m.: Roselle remains too close to call. Holley down to Shaw by 47 votes, not including yesterday’s or today’s VBMs.

10:03 p.m.: The Democratic Party Line won in LD-28:

Senator Renee Burgess

Assemblywoman Cleo Tucker

Newcomer Garnet Hall.

Senator Burgess.


9:49pm: Early returns are showing up in two highly competitive and nasty Morris County races.

In the LD 26 senate race, Joe Pennacchio leads Tom Mastrangelo by about 600 votes. And in the county commission race, incumbent Tayfun Selen is up by about 300 votes over Paul DeGroot.

9:47pm: “On to the main event,” Burzichelli said, referring to his coming general election showdown with Senator Durr, as both men win the nominations of their parties to face off in the fall.

9:45pm: Craig Guy won the Dem nomination for Hudson executive.

9:38pm: In Dover, James Dodd’s comeback was successful, winning the Dem mayoral primary.

9:35pm: The AP called the GOP Senate race in LD4 for Delborello.

9:25pm: Senator Durr defeated Assemblywoman Sawyer in the LD3 GOP Senate primary.

Senator Codey defeated Senator Gill in the LD27 Democratic Senate primary.

9:05 p.m.

Senator Durr


LD-3 Update:

Incumbent state Senator Ed Durr is up everywhere over fellow Republican Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer.

Insider NJ's Fred Snowflack discusses how Gov. Phil Murphy's absence at a ceremony held by Senator Joe Vitale to commemorate the signing of a bill by the governor that expand the rights of sexual abuse victims is very telling.

9:02 p.m.

In Middlesex County, state Senator Joe Vitale (D-19) won big.

No trouble there.

No drama.

9 p.m.

BREAKING: Former Mayor James Dodd wins the Democratic Primary in Dover.

Crushed VBMs.



8:41 p.m.

That marquee Essex race you were looking for…

VBMs, early voting, and three percent of polling places:

8:36 p.m.

Roselle VBM:

Incumbent Mayor Donald Shaw


8:34 p.m.

Keep on an eye on that Roselle Mayor’s race.

Tight so far.

Down to the wire.

Assemblyman Holley
Challenger former Assemblyman Jamel Holley


8:26 p.m.

Here’s some more heart-warming news, this blurb from The New Jersey Monitor:

“WASHINGTON — More than 1,200 hate and anti-government extremist groups were active across the United States in 2022, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest report on the nationwide prevalence of extremists who target people of color, LGBTQ people, Jewish communities and other religious minorities.

“While the overall number of hate and anti-government groups tracked by the SPLC has remained relatively steady in recent years, trends and tactics have changed over time, according to the organization’s annual audit. And some groups identified by the organization, which has long analyzed U.S. extremism, gained influence among a segment of elected Republicans.

“America is now seeing organizing locally to pursue a hateful agenda in public view, including the targeting of community safe havens like schools and houses of worship,” said Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center and SPLC Action Fund, during a virtual press conference Tuesday.”



Getting out in Front of it, a release from LD-36:

Lagana, Swain, and Tully Win LD38 Democratic Primary

PARAMUS, NJ – Tonight, Senator Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn), and Assemblyman Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield) won the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s 38th Legislative District (LD38).

Compared to the 2022 primary, early voting before today’s election increased by over 200 percent, a clear sign that voters in the district are energized. LD38, already a swing district, is expected to be one of the most contested races in the 2023 general election following redistricting.

Senator Lagana, Assemblywoman Swain, and Assemblyman Tully released the following statement:

“We’re proud to have once again earned the support of Democrats here in LD38. We know we have a tough race ahead of us, but this result clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm of the voters and the momentum of our campaign.”



8:00 p.m.

Yeah, it’s over.

You can forget about those late, panic-stricken organizational email blasts.

And trying to drive through a night that looks like volcanic ash.

Election Day just came to an end.

We’ll be around, posting results.


6:40 p.m.

As an awful Pompeii-like quality settles over parts of New Jersey (and the Northeast), there’s another reason to suggest the decline of civilization:

Anemic voter turnout everywhere.

Earlier (see below), the Morris GOP sent out a distress signal for Republican voters to get the hell to the polls.

They weren’t alone.

Middlesex Dems cracked the whip, too.

In the words of one insider:

“Must be bad turnout.”




6:34 p.m.

Some political news out of Hudson County:

Mary Jane Desmond and Noemi Valasquez today officially filed for 31st Assembly Independent against Stamato and Sampson.

More later.

Morris GOP Chair Laura Ali


5:17 p.m.

The Morris County GOP just sent out an email blast.

Here’s the gist:

“Turn Out is Excruciatingly Low. Please get everyone in your family and all of your friends to VOTE!”

In LD 24 Please Vote the Column 2 Team of:

  • Parker Space for Senate
  • Mike Inganamort (our Morris County Hometown Guy) and Dawn Fantasia
  • Tayfun Selen for Commissioner
  • Ann Grossi for Clerk

In LD 26 Please Vote the Column 2 Team of:

  • Joe Pennacchio for Senate
  • Brian Bergen and Jay Webber for Assembly
  • Tayfun Selen for Commissioner
  • Ann Grossi for Clerk

In LD 25 Please Vote for the Column 2 Team of:

  • Anthony Bucco for Senate
  • Aura Dunn and Christian Barranco for Assembly
  • Tayfun Selen for Commissioner
  • Ann Grossi for Clerk

In LD 21 Please Vote for the Column 2 Team of:

  • Jon Bramnick for Senate
  • Nancy Munoz and Michele Matsikoudis for Assembly
  • Tayfun Selen for Commissioner
  • Ann Grossi for Clerk
Three incumbent Morris County freeholders appear well on their way to victory in what has been a particularly nasty 2019 election.


5:02 p.m.

You look at the top of this InsiderNJ War Room post and you see a picture of Joe Pennacchio and Tom Mastrangelo.

It’s probably the most contested senate primary today, on the strength of Mastrangelo taking it hard to incumbent Republican Senator Pennacchio.

“Joe has run a dirty campaign, and Bill Spadea called him on it, contributing an unsolicited endorsement,” Mastrangelo told InsiderNJ tonight as he pounded on doors in the closing hours of his campaign.

He sees a close race.

But Morris insiders say Mastrangelo’s attempt to brand Pennacchio, the conservative former Donald Trump NJ Campaign Director, as a “woke” Republican strains credulity.

Pennacchio’s fought hard to keep his seat in the GOP district, spending more money districtwide on this race than any other in his two decades in Trenton.

“He should fight for it,” Mastrangelo said.

4:47 p.m.

Assemblyman Burzichelli
Former Assemblyman Burzichelli


The collapse of Senator Steve Sweeney in LD-3 and ascent of nonunion truck driver Ed Durr at the head of a ragtag band of red voters reshaped the piney centerpiece of South Jersey’s political empire.

This year, as he seeks to defend his seat in a general election, Durr has his own GOP Primary to contend with today, as he tries to steamroll past Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer.

Pawing at the turf to meet Durr in the general, stands former Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3), who’s running in place of the retired Sweeney for Sweeney’s old LD-3 senate seat.

“Election Day here is very, very quiet,” Burzichelli told InsiderNJ. “We’ve had a significant number of vote by mails, around 5k. I suspect maybe 3k people will vote today.”

The respected former Assemblyman doesn’t exactly hear Bertrand Russell-level discourse when he tunes into the Republican Primary in his district.

“I think observing it from the distance, I feel like I’m watching a repeat of the Jerry Springer Show,” he told InsiderNJ. “It seems whoever doesn’t win will have deeply hurt feelings.

“Of course, we have a primary here, too.”

Mario De Santis, aligned with “The Good Democrats”, wants to beat the ever-pragmatic Burzichelli.

“We’ve paid attention,” the former assemblyman said. “We started an earlier mix of the usual things. Texting has taken the place of phone banking. We’ve moved 4k door hangers out.”

Newark City Hall
Newark City Hall


2:47 p.m.

Just got off the phone with Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, who confirmed low voter turnout in his home county today, as expected.

It’s no barroom brawl, over there, and needless to say, the great Newark slumbers.

Has slumbered, in fact, for a decade.

You’d have to go back to the second Obama election (2012) to find respectable voter turnout, and then that winning Ras Baraka mayoral election in 2014.

Since then, it’s been a bore snore.

Today’s no exception.

Brick City voter turnout is anemic.

In a way, Essex is a microcosm of the country, where, as urban turnout has declined, suburban liberal turned has climbed.


Morris GOP Commissioner Selen says he feels confident today, while LD26 GOP Assembly candidate BettyLou DeCroce says she’s knocked on more doors than any previous campaign.

2:30 p.m.

If this Election Day weren’t scintillating enough, check out this newsflash from CBS:


“Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is planning to [today] announce his candidacy for president of the United States.

“He’s trying to set himself apart from the rest of Republican presidential hopefuls as one of the toughest critics of former President Donald Trump, but he may not have the support he needs.

“Christie is going from a loyal friend of the former president to a foe, looking to compete against him yet again for president of the United States of America.”

2:25 p.m.

Veteran Assemblyman Tom Giblin doesn’t appear on the ballot today in battleground LD-27.

He’s retiring.

In his place, Alixon Collazos is running for an LD-27 assembly seat on a ticket with state Senator Dick Codey and Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27).

Also on the ballot?

Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill, husband of Collazos.


2:17 p.m.

InsiderNJ just spoke to incumbent state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), who occupies one of Primary Day’s battleground districts.

“It’s low turnout,” said the veteran GOP senator. “We knocked on thousands of doors and made over 3k engagements. There’s nothing we left on the field.”

What does he want voters to remember?

“My good name,” said Pennacchio. “I want them o remember that nothing that came out of my mouth was a lie.”

2:05 p.m.

New Jersey voters go to the polls:

1:50 p.m.

Montclair/Clifton making up 50% of the turnout in LD-27.



12:52 p.m.

Low turnout in Essex.

The supposed marquee race over there?

Codey versus Gill?

It’s a dud.

“The early vote was 5,000 for LD-27,” said a source. “It will probably end above ten. There’s no energy. No one in the polling place I went to. Poll workers looked worn.”

Can you feel the excitement?

12:26 p.m.

Bucco went after Dems on Election Day.

Senator Anthony M. Bucco asked why Democrats would delay a vote on legislation requiring New Jersey to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035 until after November’s legislative elections if it’s such a great idea.

Forcing New Jerseyans to pay higher energy bills for whale-killing wind turbines and asking them to rip out their natural gas furnaces and stoves at great cost is bad public policy,” said Bucco (R-25). “Democrats are afraid that if voters realize they’re going to pay significantly more for less reliable power that requires expensive retrofits of homes, businesses, and public buildings, they’ll be dumped like a dead whale in Raritan Bay. The only reason they’re pushing off consideration of their clean energy bill until after Election Day is to keep voters in the dark until it’s too late.”

Bucco’s comments followed news that the Democrat sponsor of the bill to require New Jersey to obtain 100% of its energy from “zero-carbon” sources admitted that a vote on his legislation is “definitely a post-election thing.

An independent nonprofit estimated the cost of New Jersey’s total transition to green energy by 2050 as proposed by Governor Murphy in his Energy Master Plan at $1.4 trillion.

In February, the governor announced plans to move up the target date for the transition from 2050 to 2035.

The legislation to enshrine Governor Murphy’s expensive proposal in state law, S-2978, is sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (D-17).

“If the Democrats’ green energy agenda was expected to cost New Jersey families and businesses $1.4 trillion to transition to renewables by 2050, I can’t even imagine what it will cost to do it 15 years faster,” Bucco said. “The wind farm companies already have their hands out for more subsidies from ratepayers saying they can’t make money because the economics of their projects are so bad. It’s a fact that these projects won’t be undertaken or completed unless ratepayers are forced to pay more. Democrats don’t want people to know before November that they’re going to rubberstamp a bill that is guaranteed to drive electric bills and conversion costs for homeowners, businesses, and government agencies through the roof.”

11:51 a.m.

Today is Primary Day, yes. But, it is also the anniversary of D-Day. If the Allied forces were not successful 79 years ago, it is unlikely that we would be enjoying voting today.  They were truly the Greatest Generation.

Below, is Assemblyman Roy Freiman‘s father stationed in England:

It’s Primary Day in New Jersey today, and while the majority of races are uncontested, there are a few legislative battlegrounds to keep an eye on.  We’ll provide real-time updates and results when available.

Polls are open today until 8pm.  If you need to find your polling location, you can search here.

In the meantime…

Senator Durr

In LD3, incumbent Senator Ed Durr won two years ago in one of the most unexpected upsets in state legislative history, defeating Senate President Sweeney. Now, he’s facing a primary challenge from his former running mate, Assemblywoman Sawyer, in today’s Republican Senate primary.

In LD4, two Republican slates are battling it out for the right to take on Assemblyman Moriarty in the Senate race in the fall.  Republicans have their eye on this district, as incumbent Senator Madden opted against seeking re-election, and as Republicans gain ground in South Jersey districts.

In LD18, incumbent Democratic Senator Diegnan faces a primary challenge from Christopher Binetti.

In LD24, Senate Minority Leader Oroho opted against seeking re-election this year, as did Assemblyman

Gottheimer and Oroho

Wirths.  Assemblyman Space was heading for the exit as well, but opted to seek the Senate nomination following Oroho’s retirement announcement.  He faced a brief challenge from Steve Lonegan, who ended his bid, but the Assembly GOP primary features a clash between Dawn Fantasia and Mike Inganamort, and Josh Aikens and Jason Sarnoski.  The Assembly primary battle has been acrimonious, and comes to a head today.

In LD26, incumbent Senator Pennacchio is facing a strong challenge from Morris GOP Commissioner Mastrangelo, who has a history of winning off-the-line.  The Senate primary has been filled with barbs and attacks, with Mastrangelo most recently accusing Pennacchio of dining out at fast food joints on the campaign’s tab. Former Assemblywoman DeCroce is seeking a comeback, and has her sights set on dislodging Assemblyman Brian Bergen, as the two have been locking horns throughout the primary season.


In LD27, this is the marquee Democratic Senate primary of the year, as redistricting forced incumbents Senator Codey and Senator Gill into the same district.  With a big cash advantage, and the support of the party organization in Essex and Passaic, Codey has been absent from the campaign trail due to health issues, while Gill lost one of her Assembly running mates. A late-game shake-up before the petition filing deadline removed incumbent Assemblyman Giblin from the ticket, supplanted by Alixon Collazos-Gill, who joins incumbent Assemblyman McKeon and Codey on the line.

In Morris County, incumbent Morris GOP Commissioner Selen faces a primary challenge from former CD11 GOP primary candidate Paul DeGroot.

In Sussex County, incumbent GOP Commissioner Yardley faces two challengers in the primary.

There are several contentious local primary races, as well, among them:

In Dover, there’s a three-way mayoral race in the Democratic primary.

In Roselle, former Assemblyman Holley is running for mayor in the Democratic primary.

In Parsippany, there’s a GOP primary for council seats.

In Toms River, there’s a contested mayoral GOP primary.


Take a look at Insider NJ’s special edition publication on the 2023 primary season:

June Primary Elections
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