Insider NJ’s General Election Day War Room 2019 (Updated Thu 9:52AM)

Insider NJ 2019 General Election War Room

9:53AM (Thurs): LD2’s Assembly race is close. Said AC GOP Chair Keith Davis: ‘There’s still 2000 provisionals to be counted. But pleased that the Democrats had to spend over $1 million to try to hold these seats. The tide is turning in our direction. We won 84% of the contested elections in Atlantic county this year. The Republican Party in South Jersey is strong.’

With most VBMS having been counted, incumbent Dem Assemblyman Armato is up 435 votes, with Democrats cautiously optimistic. There are still 400-500 VBMs to be counted, countywide, next week, along with the 2,000 provisionals.


9:52AM (Thurs): In LD25, with the Assembly race having just concluded with a GOP victory for Senator Bucco and runningmate Brian Bergen, Westfield Democratic Chair Rupande Mehta announced her candidacy for the LD25 Senate seat against Bucco in next year’s special election. Nine district municipal chairs announced their support.  Meanwhile, Aura Dunn and John Barbarula are in the hunt for the Assembly seat that Bucco’s win secured for the GOP; there will be a special convention.


9:51AM (Thurs): With differing post-election storylines, the Currie and Jones teams are in talks in an attempt to figure out the chair battle.


9:15PM (Wed): An election postscript…and Alan Steinberg’s winners and losers from the election.


8:01PM: Reacting to GOP’s retention of LD8, LD21, LD25, and a pickup in LD1, Governor Murphy says that losing Democrats should have embraced him, according to Politico NJ, and ‘as a general matter, if you were running with conviction and substance on that stronger and fairer agenda … you were either performing ahead of expectations or you were competitive and you were winning’. Senate President Sweeney reacted, saying ‘are you kidding me?’ and that ‘this is the first net loss in the Senate in a decade. You can spin it however you want. We lost’, according to NJ.com.

Speaker Coughlin released a statement on the Assembly elections, saying he’s proud that Democrats held onto their 50+ majority. Former Assemblyman and 2021 GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli released a statement blasting Murphy, calling him ‘tone-deaf on taxes’ and ‘voters sent a very simple and different message regarding our broken state – Fix New Jersey’.


3:35PM: Not so fast, Governor Murphy


3:34PM: A few other election results:

In Sussex County, GOP Freeholders Petilla and Fasano cruised to victory, according to NJ Herald.

In Rockaway, the GOP swept, according to the Daily Record.

In Passaic County, the Democrats swept, according to NorthJersey.com.

In Hunterdon County, the GOP maintained control of the freeholder board, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Old Bridge, GOP Mayor Owen Henry won re-election along with the GOP slate, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Sayreville, the mayoral race is too close to call, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Denville, the incumbent mayor and council members were re-elected, according to NorthJersey.com.

In Vernon, with most votes in, Burrell is leading, according to NJ Herald. Two incumbents and a newcomer won BOE seats.

In Toms River, Republican Mo Hill won the mayor’s race, according to the Asbury Park Press.

In Galloway, the GOP won, according to the Press of AC.

In Chatham, a big win for Democrats, according to NJ Hills.

In Middlesex, Mayor DiMura was defeated by Council President Madden, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Perth Amboy, a runoff system was approved by voters, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Oceanport, Mayor Coffey won re-election, according to the Asbury Park Press.

In Montague, two BOE incumbents were ousted, according to NJ Herald.

In Byram, Gallagher, Franco, and Bonker won council seats, according to NJ Herald.

In LD16, Assemblymen Zwicker and Freiman won re-election, according to TAPinto.

In Lumerton, late VBMs give the edge to the incumbent, according to BurlCo Times.

In Bernardsville, the GOP is poised to win, according to NJ Hills.

In Bound Brook, Mayor Fazon won re-election, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Madison, the Democrats swept, according to NJ Hills.

In Rarita, Zachary Bray won the mayoral race, according to MyCentralJersey.

In Clinton Township, Mayor Kovach was re-elected, according to NJ Hills.


3:05PM: From last night: Gina LaPlaca addresses her supporters after losing her LD8 race:

3:01PM: From last night: Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald addresses the troops in LD8 after LaPlaca and Natale lost:

 



2:32PM: Somerset GOP Chairman Al Gaburo said Gov. Phil Murphy -who just announced the race for Democrats in Somerset – is wrong. “All I can tell you is the governor just left a quick presser and said, ‘oh they just called it in Somerset.’ It’s just not true. When you hear the number of ballots counted, especially the number of provisional ballots, I dont know where his math comes from, but there will be more than enough for [Republican Freeholder] Pat Walsh to win.”


2:19PM: Mercer County Democratic Chair Janice Mironov expected to endorse Democratic State Party Chair John Currie this week, giving the sitting chairman a win in his ongoing duel with Essex County Chairman Leroy Jones.

Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer and East Windsor Mayor (and Mercer Democratic Chair) Janice Mironov

2:16PM: Party-like atmosphere among Somerset Democrats who are convinced Marano the winner of the freeholder seat that changes county control.

Marano
The governor’s hopes for an obvious win hang on the shoulders of former Green Brook Mayor Melonie Marano.

1:11PM: Take a look at Monmouth polling director Pat Murray’s assessment of the elections and their impact on 2020.


12:46PM: LD2 drama, big time. Machine results favored GOP challengers. As vote by mail ballots are tallied, incumbent Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) appears to be up 1500-1700 votes; his running mate, incumbent Assemblyman John Armato is up by 400. There are still some VBMs left to count.


12:32PM: In Somerset, Democratic challenger Melonie Marano is ahead of Republican incumbent Freeholder Pat Walsh by 322 votes. Provisional ballots and VBM ballots received by tomorrow evening will be counted on Tuesday, according to Somerset Clerk Steve Peter.


12:32PM: LD2 is unresolved. Mazzeo and Armato fighting for survival.


9:46AM: Take a look at a special Election Day Edition of Who’s Up And Who’s Down, and Al Sullivan’s Winners and Losers in Hoboken.


12:26AM: The Bergen Democratic freeholders swept in the election, according to the Bergen Record.


11:45PM: In the race for Paterson BOE, former BOE member Corey Teague is leading among the candidates running for three seats, according to Paterson Times; following Teague are Capers and Arrington.


11:41PM: In Phillipsburg, Republican Todd Tersigni defeated incumbent Mayor Ellis, 1618-1194 votes, according to Lehigh Valley Live.  The Republicans defeated the Democrats for council.


11:24PM: In a big win for Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, voters rejected Airbnb in the referendum.


11:05PM: In Elmwood Park, with 100% of precincts reporting GOP Councilman Colletti is leading in the race for the mayoralty, with 1,455 votes to Democrat Pellegrine 1,294 votes, with 277 of the vote going to ‘others’ (former Councilman Dombrowski was running as a write-in candidate).


11:01PM: In battleground Somerset County, GOP sheriff candidate Bill Parenti is down 2,000 votes to Democrat Darrin Russo; Parenti conceded the race. The freeholder race is too-close-to-call: GOP incumbent Walsh will be up on the machines by a small margin, while down on VBMs but not by an insurmountable amount.  The VBMs will be reviewed over the next two days.


10:59PM: In Atlantic City:

Ward 1: Democrat Aaron Randolph won

Ward 2: Democrat Marty Small won (unopposed)

Ward 3: Democrat Khalim Shabazz won (unopposed)

Ward 4: Democrat Hossain Morshed won

Ward 5: Republican Sharon Zappia won with 57.8% to the Dem candidate’s 42.2%

Ward 6: Republican Jesse Kurtz won with 75.85% to the Dem candidate’s 21.15%


10:52PM: In Bergenfield, with 100% of precincts reporting, incumbent GOP Mayor Schmelz received 48.43% (2637 votes) while Democrat Council President Amatorio received 51.48% (2803 votes), the apparent victor.


10:49PM: In the controversial Middletown Township Committee race, with 95.4% reporting, the GOP are the winners: Kevin Settembrino with 32.24% and Rick Hibell with 31.75%, while Democrats Sean Byrnes received 19.33% and Jeana Sager with 16.48%


10:47PM: Following a series of GOP victories, NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt did an endzone dance.


10:44PM: In LD39, incumbent GOP Assemblymembers Schepisi and Auth are ahead with 29% and 27% of the vote each to their Dem challengers’ 21% and 22%, with 71% of precincts reporting.


10:41PM: NOT ONLY did GOP Senate candidate Mike Testa win tonight – he tailcoated the two GOP Assembly candidate to victory as well over Dem incumbents Land and Milam.


10:32PM: In the Burlington County sheriff’s race, with 80% reporting precincts, Democrat Basantis is in the lead with 54.35%, followed by GOP candidate Ditzel with 42.58%; the two other candidates are far behind with less than 2% each.


10:29PM: In Morris County, with 91% of precincts reporting, incumbent GOP Sheriff James Gannon received 58.8% of the vote, while GOP surrogate candidate Heather Darling received 55.65%, and a GOP victory for the Republican freeholders.


10:28PM: In battleground LD8, GOP Assemblyman Peters and runningmate Stanfield have defeated Democrats LaPlaca and Natale.


10:26PM: In battleground LD1, GOP challenger Mike Testa has defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Andrzejczak.


10:20PM: In LD21, GOP incumbents Bramnick and Munoz have prevailed.


10:17PM: In Hoboken, according to unofficial results, Ward 1 Councilman DeFusco won (844-430) 2-1; Ward 2’s Fisher won re-election (872-760); Ward 3’s Russo took 846 votes to his challenger’s 408; Ward 4’s Ramos received 623 votes to his challenger’s 387; Ward 5’s Maganucio (a newcomer) received 334 votes, Crowell received 392 votes, and Phil Cohen won the ward with 794 votes; Ward 6’s Giattino won with 633 votes to Cricco-Powell’s 546 and Rosner’s 48 votes, with 93% of precincts reporting.


10:11PM: In LD1, Testa is running ahead, and Democrats are getting jittery…


10:10PM: Somerset County will be close…


10:08PM: In LD25, Anthony Bucco has won the Assembly seat he vacated to take the Senate seat.


10:04PM: In Hoboken, Ward 2 Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher has won re-election.


9:52PM: In Bayonne’s Ward 1 special council race, incumbent Neil Carroll won, according to Hudson County View.


9:51PM: In Hawthorne’s Ward 2, Democratic candidate Thomas Bushnauskas trails GOP candidate Rayna Laiosa by only 9 votes.


9:48PM: In Lumberton’s local race, its a TIE after VBMs.  Provisional ballots yet to be counted.


9:45PM: With 20% of the districts reporting, Somerset GOP Freeholder Walsh is up by 300 votes over Democratic challenger Marano.


9:41PM: In the Atlantic County portion of LD1, GOP candidate Mike Testa received 61% of the vote to incumbent Andrezcak’s 38% at the polls.


9:37PM: In Ocean County, GOP Sheriff Mastronardy will cruise to re-election, while GOP Freeholders Gaines and Kelly are winning 2-1.


9:34PM: In Livingston, Democrat Michael Vieira has won over Christie protege Brandon Minde in the special election for council, according to the unofficial tally, up 200 votes with VBMs still to be counted .


9:32PM: In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop has won the Airbnb referendum.


9:25PM: In one of most closely watched local races of the cycle, Hamilton Mayor Yaede was defeated tonight by Democratic challenger Council President Martin.


9:23PM: In Raritan, the Republicans swept, according to TAPinto.


9:22PM: In Northfield, GOP Mayor Chau was re-elected with 58% of the vote, according to the Press of AC.


9:18PM: In Monmouth County, GOP Sheriff Golden is leading Democratic challenger Dothard by 20-points with 95% of votes in. For freeholder, Arnone and DiRicco lead their Democratic challengers.


9:11PM: In Parsippany, it appears the Republicans have held on.


9:07PM: In LD11, with 139/160 districts reporting, it looks close – the GOP challengers have 15,838 and 15,306 votes while the Dem incumbents have around 16,500 each at of 9:07pm.  UPDATE: the Dem incumbents widened their lead, and a source says they will win by 3,000 votes.


8:54PM: According to unofficial results, Alderman Blackman has defeated incumbent James Dodd in the Dover mayor’s race.


8:51PM: In Linden, Mayor Armstead won control of the BOE.


8:49PM: In Belleville, Mayor Melham’s backed BOE slate won.


8:47PM: In Irvington, Mayor Vauss’ Team Irvington Strong has won.


8:40PM: The VBMs in LD8 (Burlington County Only) LaPlaca – 3522; Natale – 3433; Stanfield- 3482; Peters – 3472


8:38PM: In Manville, Republican Onderko is declaring victory over Democrat Petrone, who was accused of sexual harassment according to a complaint filed during the campaign.


8:33PM: In Bridgewater, GOP Council President Matt Moench is the unofficial winner in the mayor’s race against Democratic candidate Jeff Brookner.


8:23PM: In Westampton, incumbent John Wisniewski defeated Karl Eversmeyer 1222-672 according to unofficial results.


8:00PM: The polls have officially closed in New Jersey.  Keep in mind that VBMs may be received up to two days after Election Day if they are postmarked by Election Day, which could affect the outcome of close races.


7:00PM: Somerset Democrats were guardedly optimistic about taking over the county in an off year. “The governor’s coming here,” a source enthused ahead of tonight’s party. “Apparently he knows something.” Turnout was above average in Somerset, where Republicans, with their backs to the wall, were fighting hard to retain the seat currently occupied by incumbent Freeholder Pat Walsh.

Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer with Bridgewater mayoral candidate Jeff Brookner.

7:00PM: The Keep Our Homes campaign released a video showing Mayor Fulop allegedly electioneering a polling location.


6:19PM: Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-8) said the contest appears to be going his and retired BurlCo Sheriff Jean Stanfield’s way in Battlefield LD8. Very confident. “We have volunteers everywhere and they’re getting good responses from doors and phones,” Peters told InsiderNJ. “Everyone says they’ve already voted or plan on voting after work. Hammonton is going to give us a big bump.”

Hammontown

6:00PM: From Politico: “Reps. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), both Democrats from districts won by President Donald Trump, are running to become freshman representative [to replace disgraced U.S. Rep. Katie Hill], one of two leadership spots reserved for first-term Democrats, according to candidacy letters obtained by POLITICO.”

U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill in LD24.
U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill in LD24.

5:19PM: Back to New Jersey. A source in Ld8 says the polling ha been so jumbled, with candidates compressed against each other in various iterations, that there’s no way to authoratively determine a likely winner(s).


5:18PM: Wait a minute, this just in from the 2020 Presidential Campaign: Cory Booker will return to Iowa on November 9th and 10th to “outline his plans to expand economic opportunity in every community, bridging the gap between rural and urban America.”


5:14PM: Confidence among Somerset Democrats is high, evidently, as Murphy intends to deliver his formal Election Night remarks in Somerville, county seat of a control election year where Democrats hope to spear a seat to turn Somerset blue.


5:12PM: Governor Phil Murphy just email blasted a message to his supporters, which reads in part:

“I’ve hit the campaign trail with so many hardworking candidates who are in this race to give their communities the representation they deserve. It’s our right and our responsibility to get out the vote and uphold our Democratic values. 

“Just imagine what progress New Jersey can make with dozens of newly elected Democrats! With incredible candidates running powerful campaigns in competitive districts all over the state, voting could not be more important. Today is our greatest opportunity to deliver for the middle class and keep making progress towards a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all.” 


4:48PM: Take a look at Rowan Professor Dworkin’s election day commentary.


4:38PM: In Atlantic County, the Clerk has received 9300 VBMs with another 500 coming in today, according to the Press of AC.


4:34PM: In battleground Hamilton, voters are steadily coming out, according to TAPinto.  Dem challenger Martin leads with VBMS, having 1958 votes to 1523 votes for incumbent GOP Mayor Yaede.


4:33PM: Mayor Fulop says the Airbnb referendum ‘will set the tone nationally‘, according to Hudson County View.


4:12PM: Governor Murphy barnstormed Morris County this afternoon, as the Morris GOP sent out an email saying the Dems ‘are out in force – don’t let them outpace us’.


4:00PM: A wobbly-looking Assemblyman Robert Auth (R-39) ate a negative ad linking him to the NRA; indicative of Dems’ persistent sniffing around the Bergen-based district. But a source expected him to squeak back in amid more intense conflagrations in other battleground districts.


2:54PM: In Battleground Somerset, Clerk Steve Peter says, “Anecdotal evidence for turnout today looks good. I would say stronger than average turnout in the morning. We will see how the after-work rush goes. VBM returns in the low 40%s.”


2:51PM: LUPE PAC released their endorsements for the Assembly races this afternoon.


2:41PM: A Pro Mayor Kelly Yaede piece in Battleground Hamilton:


2:29PM: NJ PBA Pres. Pat Colligan making calls for LaPlaca & Natale at Lumberton Democrat’s phone bank.


2:17PM: Hudson County Exec Tom DeGise and his daughter, HCDO Chair Amy DeGise, voted yes in the Jersey City Airbnb referendum, according to Hudson County View.


2:14PM: According to TAPinto, a candidate was booted from a polling location in Chatham.


2:00PM: Team Testa running as “Real Republican Leadership for South Jersey.”


1:17PM: It’s getting uglier in Dover.


12:01PM: Senator Bob Andrzejczak campaigned with GOTV workers through the rain this morning in Battleground LD1.


11:34AM: The Mendham firehouse, former Governor Christie’s polling place, still has a role to play in this year’s LD25 election.


11:22AM: A Monmouth poll shows partisan opinion of President Trump digging in.


11:17AM:

Democrats in war-torn Union County pulled out the hyperbole on Election Day eve, as this Facebook post continued to circulate this morning from the Roselle Democratic Chairman.

11:10AM: First Lady Tammy Murphy joined Democrats in Bridgewater and then went to Raritan – the town where Jack Ciattarelli grew up – to knock on doors with local candidates.


10:29AM: Here’s Governor Murphy’s Election Day schedule (updated).


9:39AM: Anecdote: A source in Somerset County noted that he/she was #10 at the polls at 8am this morning…last year he/she was #138 at the same time.


9:35AM: Governor Murphy recorded a robocall for Team Irvington, and has an Election Day campaign stop here today.


9:30AM: In Dover, the odds on Dodd and other mull-overs…


9:15AM: Enjoy Insider NJ’s General Election Day playlist…


8:52AM: In battleground LD25, now-Senator Anthony Bucco continues a Bucco tradition, voting at sunrise.


8:34AM: According to New Jersey Hills, Somerset County voters who received a robocall announcing polling location changes are advised its a scam, according to the County Elections Administrator.


8:01AM: In battleground LD21, incumbent GOP Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick said last night that the Dems want to turn this election into a national election; this morning, a Dem source said they feel confident there and that a ‘stiff wind will blow Bramnick over at this point’. Read Paul Mulshine’s treatment of the race here.


7:55AM: It’s officially Election Day and the polls have been open since 6am.  Find your polling place here


Welcome to Insider NJ’s Election Day War Room 2019, where we’ll keep you stocked throughout the day with on-the-ground information and real-time updates – including results later on tonight.

In short, keep refreshing that tab.

To all the candidates running today, good luck and Godspeed.

Over the past few days, the NJGOP made its closing arguments against Governor Murphy’s agenda, as the Governor himself campaigned in different parts of the state, including battlegrounds Morris and Somerset, saying he wants Democrats to compete in traditionally GOP areas. On Saturday, NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt, who’s maintained a GOTV schedule to rival (or surpass) the Governor, derided Democrats’ ‘vote-rigging’ scheme, referring to the vote-by-mail system. The Governor headed to Somerset County on Sunday, a traditionally GOP stronghold that’s turning purple, saying ‘we know we’re on the right side of history’. First Lady Tammy Murphy and local officials greeted voters outside a ShopRite in Hackensack, as Assemblyman Johnson gave his assessment on the election, and the First Lady barnstormed Christie county in Morris County.

The Governor and First Lady continued their GOTV schedule yesterday, while NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt campaigned in Bridgewater, telling Insider NJ that Governor Murphy should be campaigning in South Jersey instead of just his comfort zones of Somerset and Morris Counties.

The Governor said yesterday of the elections that ‘it’s certainly at least partly a referendum, and we welcome that because we like where we’re headed’ according to NJTV’s Michael Aron. Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray last week pointed out that the Governor is a ‘non-entity’ to most New Jerseyans – at a campaign stop this weekend, one person said ‘to be honest, I don’t even know who the Governor is‘.

Here’s the Murphy’s GOTV schedule for today.

To get started (or to fill the time throughout the day), take a look at a few Insider NJ key pieces from the election cycle, a special Election Day podcast, a few videos from the campaign trail, and overviews of some of the key legislative, county, and local battles.

Here are a few broader pieces that contextualize this election cycle in general:

Vortexing the Murphy-Norcross Theaters of NJ Politics

Murphy Versus Steinhardt, the Aggressive Last Push in LD21, Juliano Prevailed Upon, and other Notes

2019 Elections: Is there a Future Governor in the House, and Other Trail Tales (Part 1)

2019 Elections: When in Doubt, Enlist a Veteran, and Other Trail Tales (Pt. 2)

The GOP’s Closing Anti-Murphy Argument to Voters (and other Trail Tales, Part 3)

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the 2019 Elex (but were Afraid to Ask)

InsiderNJ Updates on Competitive Battleground Elections

Battleground Legislative Races: Predictions and Perspectives

NJ’s Pre-Election Day Political Tailgate

NJ’s Pre-Election Day Political Tailgate Part 2

NJ’s Pre-Election Day Political Tailgate Part III

In Adubato Interview, Governor Murphy Doubles-Down On ‘One Issue Voter’ Comment: One Gets What One Pays For

From Trump’s Tweet, to Christie, to the Roots of ‘The Van Drew Team’

For Whom the Bell Tolls and Losing an Election

InsiderNJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down with Nov. 5th in Sight

Key Dynamics in some Key (and not so Key) Nov. 5th Elections

The InsiderNJ Interview: Essex Dems Chairman Jones Offers His General Election Game Plan Advice to Governor Murphy

‘Sweeney has Managed to Steal…Our Arguments’: LD39 Battleground Assemblywoman Schepisi, the InsiderNJ Interview

Most Likely NJGOP Election Night Star – Holly Schepisi

A Morris County Case of ‘Murphy-itis’ in the Grand Cafe

NJ Legislative Elections 2019: Three Factors Presage a Democratic Gain

INSIDERNJ’S WHO’S UP and WHO’S DOWN: Week of Ongoing Intensification

Murphy Rallies Democrats in Non-competitive Hudson

The New Party Chairs in Bergen and Ocean: How are they Doing?

Murphy in Christie’s Backyard: ‘I Want to Kick Some Ass in Mendham Twp.’

Atlantic City Postscript: Currie, Jones, the Ballroom, and the Swamp

In Passaic, All’s Well that Ends (at Least for Now, Ahead of Nov. 5th) Well

Congressmen Consider the Impact of Impeachment on 2019 Elections

Super Majority-Saddled Coughlin Wants a Bigger Caucus

Coughlin: Impeachment Procedures Impact His Battleground Elections

Mortimer Fires Back at Brindle: Dems have Moved too Far to the Left, Says GOP Chair (with Video)

Senate Presidency Stories from the (Ongoing) Era of Steve Sweeney

INSIDERNJ Campaign Zone Flashpoint: Ranking the (TOP!) Leg. Races Sept. 21st

Bar Stool Observations from the 2019 Election Cycle (So Far)

Sherrill Game Clocks Rock Star Role in Low Turnout Election Year

If Bramnick were to Lose, Who Would Lead the GOP Caucus?

On the Trail for Big Game, Just where have all the Elephants Gone?

Source: The Shape of the GOP Race for Governor 2021

The 20 Best NJ Legislative Elections of the Last 20 Years

Where can the GOP Pick up Seats this Year, and other O’Scanlon Ruminations

Legislative Election Guide (from Most to Least Competitive)

Reporter’s Notebook: Ironworker Source Notes (and Laments) a Pro-Trump Mood

Listen to a special E-Day episode of the CIG Insider NJ Podcast, hosted by Paul Crupi, with Insider NJ editor Max Pizarro and reporter Fred Snowflack as they discuss the races to watch and the statewide political dynamics that have shaped those races – and how the results tonight will impact those dynamics going forward:

 

A few of the key legislative races:

LD1: In the special Senate race to succeed CD2 Rep. Van Drew, incumbent Senator Andrzejczak is facing off against Cumberland County GOP Chairman Mike Testa.  The race has become a mini-referendum on Governor Murphy, with the incumbent campaigning on his independence and opposition to Murphy’s liberal agenda, and the challenger seeking to tie the incumbent to the Governor. ELEC says LD1 edges all other districts this cycle in spending, with $2.5M spent in the special Senate race.  A Stockton poll shows the incumbent ahead by double-digits – brushed aside by Testa’s team – as most sources anticipate a closer race.  See Andrejczak’s closing arguments and Testsa’s closing arguments.

LD8: The Burlington County-based district is a toss-up this year, as incumbent GOP Assemblyman Peters and running mate Jean Stanfield face off against Democratic challengers Gina LaPlaca and Mark Natale.  Burlington has trended Democratic in recent years; Senator Addiego earlier this year changed party affiliation from GOP to Democrat.  Incumbent Assemblyman Howarth was defeated in the June primary, tossed off the line in favor of Stanfield, after allegedly attempting to defect alongside Addiego.  The presence in the race of ‘MAGA conservative’ candidate Thomas Ganguilio has caused consternation among the GOP, while Peters has assailed the ‘Camden cartel’ backing the Democratic challengers.  Peters said he’s confident of his GOTV operation to win today, while LaPlaca said ‘hard work should win the day‘. The district is priority for Speaker Coughlin and DACC.

LD11:  Once a completely GOP district, the tide turned in the Assembly in 2015 when Houghtaling and Downey won, and two years ago when Senator Gopal defeated Senator Beck.  It hasn’t gotten as much attention this time around, but GOP challengers Woolley and Amoroso are making a spirit play, and as endorsed by the Asbury Park Press last week.

LD16: In the once-red district, Assemblymen Zwicker and Freiman seek re-election, while GOP Senator Bateman looms in the background of the race.

LD21: In the match-up between incumbent GOP Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and runningmate Munoz against Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman, Democrats feel confident in LD21, holding a 1500 VBM advantage.  The presence of two conservative independents in the race has also complicated the district for the incumbents. Bramnick and Munoz held a rally last night, saying that Democrats ‘want to to turn this into a national election’.

LD25: Late in the game, the district is still ‘hard to read‘, according to one source, as now-Senator Anthony Bucco (read more here and here) is still on the ballot for the Assembly seat along with running mate Brian Bergen.  They are facing off against Democrats Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger.

LD26: Democratic Assembly candidates Christine Clarke and Laura Fortgang have run separate campaigns against incumbents Webber and DeCroce.  Things got heated in the final days, with Webber taking fire from challenger Fortgang for photoshopping an image of her ‘No Fossil Fuel’ pledge.

LD39:  The GOP district has gained attention the last two cycles – in 2017 then-Speaker Prieto attempted to play here to add to his caucus as he sought safety in expanding his caucus to hold onto the Speakership – and Dems are making a late play here.  It’s gotten nasty.

A Few of the Countywide races:

Burlington County Sheriff Race: With retired Sheriff Stanfield making an Assembly run in LD8, the race to succeed her features a four-man battle – with three candidates coming from the sheriff’s department.

Somerset County Sheriff and Freeholder Race: Somerset County GOP Chairman Gaburo and Democratic Chair Schaffer go head-to-head in this year’s sheriff and freeholder race, with control of the freeholder board dependent on its outcome.  Incumbent GOP Freeholder Walsh is being challenged by Green Brook Mayor Marano, while Democrat Darrin Russo and Republican Bill Parenti are looking to succeed retiring Sheriff Provenzano.  Victorious in a bitter and close primary fight, Parenti’s primary opponent Tim Pino endorsed the Democrat. Governor Murphy has spent time in Somerset in the waning days of the election cycle, as has NJGOP Chairman Steinhardt.

Morris County Freeholder, Sheriff, and Surrogate race:  The Morris County Democrats are hoping to make a dent in the GOP-controlled freeholder board, while incumbent veteran Sheriff Gannon looks to stave off a challenge from Bill Schievella.  The surrogate seat is open, with GOP Freeholder Darling jousting with Michael Thompson for the seat.

Hudson County Executive: Veteran County Exec DeGise is seeking re-election and is being challenged by 18-year old GOP candidate Kennith Gonzalez.

Atlantic County Executive: Incumbent GOP County Exec Levinson is facing a challenge from Northfield Councilwoman Korngut.

Bergen County Freeholders RaceNewly-minted BCDO Chairman Juliano has three incumbent Democratic freeholders seeking re-election.

Ocean County Freeholder Race: Four candidates are vying for freeholder seats, a first test in the post-Gilmore GOP with new Chairman Holman at the helm.

Passaic County Sheriff Race: The home turf of State Chairman Currie, incumbent Sheriff Bernik seeks re-election against GOP challenger Woolridge, alongside longtime incumbent Freeholders Duffy and Lepore.

Monmouth County Freeholder Race: Democratic candidates Moira Nelson and Michael Penna are challenging the GOP incumbents, and veteran GOP Sheriff Golden is seeking re-election.

Mercer County Executive: Yes, Virginia, there is an election for Mercer exec.

A few of the Local Races to Watch:

Hamilton:  It’s been a nasty and contentious mayoral race here, as GOP Mayor Yaede looks to defend her seat against Democratic challenger Council President Jeff Martin.  During the campaign, Yaede and her campaign faced charges of knowingly releasing her primary opponent’s expunged record; those charges were then dropped.  Martin told Insider NJ he expects a close race.  The mayoral collision played out in a single debate held at the end of October.

Hoboken: The ward races have been a contentious affair, as Mayor Bhalla’s slate of candidates goes up against several incumbents.

Bridgewater: After defeating incumbent mayor Dan Hayes in a contentious battle in the June primary, the race comes down to Moench versus Democrat Jeff Brookner.  Moench told Insider NJ yesterday that he hopes Governor Murphy will keep coming to Bridgewater, confident his presence won’t help Brookner, while the Democrat says Moench has enabled overdevelopment in the town.

Westampton:  As incumbent Mayor Wisniewski seeks re-election, GOP mayoral candidate Karl Eversmeyer was embroiled in controversy after photos of him in blackface were brought to the attention of the town and said he has no intention of dropping out. The BurlCo GOP pulled their support, and battleground LD8’s Peters and Stanfield rescinded their endorsement. Eversmeyer responded: ‘does this mean I can stop putting out there signs?’

Middletown: Jeana Sager is vying for a committee seat following controversy regarding her comment that ‘a lot of police are criminals’. The PBA called on her to apologize, while she released a statement in response, saying it was an ‘off the cuff conversation’ and an ‘immature distraction’, adding that ‘if we can’t have an honest conversation about police, some of whom act criminally, then we are not protecting our citizens or the police who risk their lives for us’. Sager’s former runningmate, Sean Byrnes, subsequently suspended his campaign.

Manville: A sexual harassment allegation has roiled the mayoral race here.

Irvington: The South Ward special election features a match-up between the late Freeholder Beasley’s daughter, Jamillah Beasley (backed by Senator Rice), and Al Tariq ibn-Shabazz.  The candidates have been in full campaign mode on the streets, amid the deeper ties and political history. There are three special elections in Irvington this November.

Dover: After being tossed off-the-line, incumbent Mayor Dodd is seeking re-election as an independent, while Alderman Carolyn Blackman has the party line and party support.  Governor Murphy campaigned with Blackman over the weekend, and has the support of both Senator Codey and Senator Rice.

Atlantic City: Against the backdrop of the recent implosion of former Mayor Gilliam, the ward council seats are up today.  The ACGOP has one incumbent – Ward 6 Councilman Kurtz – and has vowed to work harder to defeat the AC Dems’ VBM advantage.

Morris Township:  GOP Committeeman Mancuso is seeking re-election amid a changing political landscape.

Jersey City: There’s the Airbnb /short-term rental referendum (read more here and here) and a heated BOE race.  Mayor Fulop feels confident that voters will uphold the rental ban, and that the Education Matters BOE slate will win (he’s backing most of them).

Elmwood Park:  Following the implosion of former Mayor Caramagna, Democrat Council President Pellegrini is facing off against GOP Councilman Colletti, who won the June primary, as well as former Councilman Dombrowski, running as an independent.

Bayonne: There’s Ward 1 special election for the council seat, while 14 candidates are vying for three BOE seats.  Mayor David and the council endorsed the ‘Together We Can” slate.

Phillipsburg: There’s a contentious mayoral and council battle here.

Bergenfield: In what was a low-key election until this weekend, incumbent GOP Mayor Schmelz unleashed a press release accusing Democratic opponent Council President Amatorio of violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as part of a federal lawsuit.  Amatorio struck back, calling it ‘false’ and right out of the ‘Trump playbook’, vowing to file a $10M defamation suit against the mayor and his team.

Franklin Township: Mayor Kramer seeks re-election amid a bitter local political landscape that has implications both county-wide and statewide.

Fairview: Incumbent Mayor Bellucci is seeking re-election with his running mate.s

Hawthorne: In the leafy Passaic County burb, the Green Party of NJ is marshaling its forces on local test-case Craig Cayetano in Ward 3, while Democrat Thomas Bushnauaskas is running for an open seat in Ward 2, after defeating the party organization in the June primary.

Leonia: BOE President Bryce Robins – who got his start on the board as a GWU student commuting round trip from DC for meetings – is seeking re-election.

Rutherford:  There’s a mayoral and council race here.

Parsippany: There’s three council seats up here.

Perth Amboy: Ahead of what looks to be an intense 2020 mayoral race, the town has a referendum on run-off elections today.

Guttenberg: Mayor Zitt is seeking re-election.

Camden: Nine candidates are running for three seats in the first BOE election since the 2013 state takeover.

Paterson: There’s the BOE election that has local observers and candidates decrying the influence of a Hudson-based PAC.

Riverton: The Democrats are fielding a rare full slate here.

Fredon: Write-in candidates are battling for a committee seat here.

Madison: There’s a mayoral and council race here.

Branchville: The incumbent and a challenger are vying for the mayoralty.

Hasbrouck Heights: The Democratic ticket here is topped by veteran operative and Councilman Chris Hillmann, who’s running for mayor.

Cliffside Park: There’s a mayoral race here.

Freehold: A Democratic newcomer seeks a council seat in the GOP stronghold.

Brick Township: The GOP is fighting to gain control in the Dem stronghold. There’s a BOE race here.

Dunellen: GOP Councilman Cilento and his slate are running for mayor and council.

Hillsborough: The campaign of Democratic mayoral candidate Wright filed an ELEC complaint against the GOP, who returned the favor with their own complaint.

Tinton Falls: There’s a council race here.

Wayne: The BOE race here has centered on the influence of the teachers’ union.

Marlboro: Longtime incumbent Mayor Hornik is seeking his fourth term.  After a candidate dropped out, there’s only one GOP council candidate.  There’s also an interesting BOE race here.

Fair Lawn: There’s a BOE race in the hometown of Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and former Senator Bob Gordon.

Stillwater: A newcomer, two sisters, and an incumbent are vying for two committee seats here.

Lumberton: Party control is up for grabs in the local election here.

Neptune: There’s a committee race here.

Byram: Four candidates are vying for three council seats.

Toms River: Overdevelopment, taxes, and religious zoning are key issues here.  There’s a Regional BOE election here.

Walpack: An interesting race here – a single vote could make the difference in which candidate for Committee wins with only 12 voters on the roll.

Long Branch: The former ‘sex slave’ schools chief is seeking a BOE seat.

Middle Township: There’s a committee race here.

North Arlington: There’s a council race here; should all the Dems win, the council will be evenly split.

Monroe: A local race here.

Hopatcong: There’s a BOE race here and a polarizing council race.

Westfield: There’s a council race here in the town that went blue in 2017, electing Mayor Shelley Brindle – ground zero for LD21 and the hometown of Assembly Minority Leader Bramnick.

Vernon Township: There’s a mayoral race here.

Princeton: Four candidates are running for three BOE seats.

South Orange/Maplewood: Seven candidates are vying for three BOE seats.

West Wildwood: Three candidates are facing off for a commissioner seat.

Old Bridge: Democrat Councilman Merwin is running against GOP Mayor Henry.

Summit: Susan Hairston is seeking the Ward 1 Council seat vacated by the late Matthew Gould.

Upper Saddle River: Democrat Marshall Grupp is challenging the incumbent Mayor, and has questioned the mayor’s use of the town’s emergency alert system.

Paramus: Four candidates are vying for two council seats.

Montville: Trusha Quattrone is running as a write-in candidate.

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